Manchester United new boy Odion Ighalo was nearly forced to stop a training session after the University of Manchester women’s team failed to recognise the striker.
Ighalo joined the Red Devils in a last minute January loan deal from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua as a stopgap option after Marcus Rashford suffered a back injury.
With United’s first team squad over in Spain for a warm weather training camp during the winter break, they opted not to bring Ighalo with them due to concerns he might not be allowed back into the country because of heightened immigration control over the coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, the 30-year-old stayed in England and worked on his fitness with performance coach Wayne Richardson.
Some of those sessions took place on the University of Manchester’s playing fields in Wythenshawe and he was nearly forced to leave after the university’s women’s team turned up for their own training session.
Not recognising Ighalo as Manchester United’s newest signing, he was asked to leave as the field had already been booked.
It then had to be explained by university staff exactly who Ighalo was and everything ended amiably, with Ighalo taking selfies with the team.
“Nobody knew who this guy was and there was a bit of back and forth between them,” an onlooker told the Sun. “The girls were pretty feisty about him being on their pitch.
“The team just wanted to start their own session but it all ended amicably and a few had their pictures with him.”
So far, Ighalo has made three substitute appearances for his new club and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already had plenty of praise for the new recruit.
“For me, Odion is a different type of striker for us,” the Norwegian said. “He’s a box striker, a goalscorer, we’ve seen him training, he knows his craft and how to train as a centre-forward.
“He’s a fantastic professional and human being and has already added to the squad. The boys have taken to him. I hope he’s going to sharpen up quickly.
“He’s been out of season, he needs to do a little bit extra after training and we try to give him as much game time as possible. He had a good chance at Chelsea, but I’m sure he’ll take his chances.”