Former Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, said it is “unfair” that he was not considered to play certain matches while he was at Manchester United.
Ighalo joined United on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua, a Chinese Super League club, in January 2020. An extension was, however, agreed for him to stay at Old Trafford until January 2021.
The 31-year-old striker scored five goals in 23 appearances for United across all competitions during his time at the Red Devils.
But speaking in an interview on Monday, the ex-Julius Berger striker admitted that although he was brought in as a back-up striker, it was a bit unjust not to have been given enough playing time to showcase himself in certain games.
He, however, expressed his gratitude to United’s manager, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, for the few chances he got.
“After my initial loan was extended, I did not play much which was perhaps a bit unfair but as I said, I am always grateful for the opportunity,” Ighalo told Sky Sports News.
“When I joined, I always knew I wouldn’t be playing every game because I was signing as a back-up striker so I knew playing time was going to be limited.
“There were certain games where I thought I would play but that’s the decision of the coach and I am not holding anything against anyone.
“I am just grateful to Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer), the fans, my team-mates, and everyone around the club for making me feel at home and I thank God that I played for my dream club and scored goals at Old Trafford.
Ighalo also disclosed that he shunned interests from a glut of other suitors, including Tottenham Hotspur, who were prepared to match his wages, just to play for the Red Devils.
He said: “That was close – my agent called me and told me they [Tottenham] had offered to match whatever I was earning but once I heard Manchester United were interested, there was no turning back.
“I couldn’t think about anything else other than making the Manchester United deal work. I was going to have to take a pay cut but I didn’t care, I just wanted the deal to happen.
“I just wanted to play for Manchester United. It’s my dream club and it was always going to be a privilege for me to play at Old Trafford.I’m just so grateful to God that it happened. Every day I wake up and I know that I am an ex-Manchester United player. It is something that I will never take for granted.”
The former Nigerian international described Solskjaer as “a good guy, a calm guy”, adding that “he knows how to manage the boys and talks to you, especially when you are not playing”.
Ighalo has since joined Al-Shabab, a Saudi Arabian side.