The United legend admits he had initial doubts with the signing of the Nigerian, but he now understands better what the on-loan striker adds to the Red Devils.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Odion Ighalo offers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men a different dimension to what United’s other frontmen bring to the team.
Ferdinand is impressed by how well Ighalo holds up play upfront, brings other players into play, and deploys his huge presence to maximum effect in the opposition area.
The former England international is sure no other United forward – not even Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford – offers the same effect.
Ighalo grabbed a brace against Derby in an FA Cup tie at the Pride Park on Thursday night to make it three goals in just two starts for the Old Trafford giants.
It was his first goal of the night – an excellent, close control in the box, wriggling past two defenders before slamming home – that had Ferdinand raving about his qualities.
‘People and myself included were probably thinking Odion Ighalo, where does he fit into all of this?’ said Ferdinand, as quoted by The Mirror.
‘If you have an opportunity to sign a player at the beginning of the January window, he is not the guy you are going to sign, but what he does bring is a point.
‘A point where they can focus and play into him from the midfield. He offers the platform to run off. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial want the ball in behind and not to bring people in.
‘When the ball gets played into him, if Rashford or Martial were there, they wouldn’t have made themselves available like that.
‘To be there first is great considering the pressure he is under. He’s in the centre of goal, and he’s a physical presence. That’s what he adds to this team,’ Ferdinand concluded.