Off the football field, the Nigerian is a humble and likeable fellow, according to a former teammate. Watford defender Adrian Mariappa is confident that Odion Ighalo’s exceptional character on and of the pitch will see him make a success of his time at Manchester United.
The former Nigeria international shocked many by completing a six-month loan move to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.
Ighalo would be expected to bear much of the goalscoring burden for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the absence of star striker Marcos Rashford.
The jury is still out on whether the ex-Granada forward has the quality to bang in the goals for the Red Devils, with club legend Paul Scholes expressing his doubts about the new signing’s capabilities.
Ighalo, though, is a proven Premier League performer with the 30-year-old finding the back of the net 15 times in 37 league games for Watford during the 2015-16 season.
A former Hornet teammate of Ighalo, Jamaica’s Mariappa, believes some of the positive attributes many people don’t know about the Nigerian will stand him in good stead as he chases his dreams at the Theatre of Dreams.
“He’s an incredibly humble person and a really nice guy; very well respected in the group,” Mariappa said, in quotes carried by SBNation.
“He’s someone who achieved a lot in a short space of time, who just wanted to play and score goals. He was a refreshing character around the place and someone I enjoyed working with.
“He trains hard. He loves scoring goals even in training and wouldn’t surprise you with the odd worldie here and there.
“Even the times he was out of the side, he still trained well, which is a good quality to have. There’s a reason why he’s still in good condition scoring goals wherever he’s playing, and you can see on social media he works incredibly hard on and off the football pitch.
“When he needs to say something, he’ll say something. Like I said, he was well respected so everyone would listen to what he had to say and he earned that right by how well he had done for the team.
“But around the place, he’s always smiling. He’s not the type to be loud with regard to banter, but he’s a good-hearted person and has good energy,” Mariappa added about the Nigerian.