The Manchester United forward called it quit with the national team last year, but the football boss insists that the last may not have been seen of the powerful striker.
Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick is confident that Odion Ighalo can make a return to the Super Eagles should the need arises because the former Watford man loves his country.
The on-loan Shanghai Shenhua striker ended his international career after leading the Super Eagles to a third-place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations tournament.
But a shock twist of event has, however, seen Ighalo switch the less-fancied Chinese Super League for the English Premier League.
After becoming the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United, Ighalo has turned into a club favourite by scoring four goals for the Red Devils.
Ighalo’s fine displays have had fans calling for his return to the national team. Still, the 30-year-old striker has insisted that the Super Eagles already have a capable replacement in Lille forward Victor Osimhen.
But in an interview with Nigerian television station Plus TV Africa monitored by Soccernet.ng, Pinnick revealed that Ighalo might return to Gernot Rohr’s team if he is needed.
“Ighalo loves Nigeria. He loves Nigeria so much that I know.
“He grew up in Ajegunle, you know the mentality about Ajegunle and Nigeria, he loves the country so much, so I believe if there is a need for him to play for Nigeria, he will come.
“I am in touch with him; we speak every other week. He is quite respectful, quite disciplined, and quite prayerful.
“The most important thing is that he loves the country, so it’s an advantage for us, but he also wants to give the younger players the opportunity to play like Osimhen, look at Iheanacho coming back strong, then Dessers.”
“If there is a need for him to come, I believe he would definitely come, but we don’t want to put him under pressure, we want him to concentrate.
“Manchester United is not a bed of roses. He needs total concentration to be in that club, so we want to give him that.”