A former frontman at Old Trafford is backing a Nigeria international acquired in the January transfer window to make a positive impact back in England

Odion Ighalo will, as a Manchester United fan, be desperate to prove that he is deserving of a permanent move to Old Trafford, says Andy Cole.

The Nigeria international striker finds himself back in English football after being lured away from China by the Red Devils on an initial loan deal.

A previous spell at Watford proved that the 30-year-old has what it takes to be a success in the Premier League.

He will, however, find himself under considerably more pressure at United than he was accustomed to at Vicarage Road.

Former United frontman Cole does not expect that to be a problem, with Ighalo having been acquired by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a point to prove and the potential to offer something different to the Red Devils’ cause.

“That’s what we are hoping for,” Cole, speaking from Marriott Hotels Seat of Dreams at Old Trafford, told Goal.

“There are no doubts that he will do just that. He is a big supporter of the football club, he’s a fan. He wants to come here and do what he can for Manchester United, play to the best of his ability.”

Pressed further on whether prior experience of life in the Premier League will be a useful string to Ighalo’s bow, Cole added: “I would imagine so.

“He’s got Premier League experience from his time at Watford, he did well there. He made the move to China but he’s coming back to England and will give it everything he’s got.

“Being a Manchester United fan, he will want to prove that he’s good enough for the club.”

Ighalo may also have an important role to play in the ongoing development of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Both men have been asked to lead the line at times this season, having previously filled wider roles, and Cole feels a proven performer could offer a few priceless nuggets of advice.

“I think more in Martial’s case, as he’s been more of a centre-forward,” said the ex-England international.

“Marcus isn’t a natural centre-forward. You can learn off experienced players but not being that kind of natural centre-forward yourself, I think Marcus’s case is a little bit different.”

Ighalo could be handed his debut for United when they return to action after their winter break with a trip to fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea on Monday.


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