By Preye Campbell
Odion Ighalo is “ready” for a rare Premier League start on Saturday as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side come up short in attacking options.
United travel to St. James’ Park on Matchday 5 of the English Premier League- but will be doing so without some regular names in attack.
They will be without star forward Anthony Martial, who will be serving the first of his three-match suspension after receiving a red card against Tottenham Hotspur in the last league match.
New signing Edinson Cavani will also not be eligible to feature against the Magpies, as he continues to observe a 14-day self-isolation period in accordance with COVID-19 quarantine rules.
Since completing a loan move to United from Shanghai Shenhua in January, Ighalo,31, has not started a league game for the Red Devils.
He has had to make do with a bit-part role in the squad, while scoring five goals in 22 appearances across all competitions.
This season, Solskjaer has only given Ighalo nine minutes of Premier League action, and the former Super Eagles target man was omitted from the squad completely for fixtures against Brighton and Spurs before the international break.
However, the former Watford man insists he is raring to go for his boyhood club, telling the club’s official website: “I’m always ready. Whenever the gaffer calls me, my idea is just to give my best in training, work hard and wait for my opportunity – to take it.
“Hopefully, I’ll just keep my head down, keep working hard every day. Come to the training ground every day and give it my best. Whenever the gaffer needs me, I will come and give my best.
“We are working hard and looking forward to it. We’ve been training hard. Those of us who did not go to the international teams have been working seriously hard.
“Everyone is in top shape and, when those who have been in the international teams are all back, I think we are in good heart to win the game. I know we didn’t start the season well, so we’ll try to start from this weekend and try to win the game to kick the season off.”
In addition to Cavani, United made five signings in total during the summer transfer window, with Donny Van de Beek, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri also snapped up on permanent contracts, while Amad Diallo will join the squad from Italian side, Atalanta in January.
And Ighalo is eager to work with his new teammates.
“It’s good for the team, for everybody to be on their toes to work hard.
“For a big team, like Manchester United, you have to have competition for players to do well and I welcome the new guys coming in. They will bring more challenges to everyone in the team, to work hard for their positions to play in the team.”