Nigerian international, Odion Ighalo, has expressed optimism that the return of injured Paul Pogba to pair Bruno Fernandes in the midfield will greatly impact Manchester United’s fortunes in the remaining of the 2019/20 season once the COVID-19 lockdown is over.
The Shanghai Shenhua forward who is on loan at Old Trafford told top Ghanaian female sports journalist, Juliet Bawuah, yesterday that the combination of Pogba and Fernandes would be a big hit.
Ighalo who has impressed since sealing the surprise switch to United on January transfer deadline day deal, has scored four goals in eight outings for his new club.
He is one of many United stars to have benefited from the arrival of Fernandes. The Portuguese has taken to life at United seamlessly and has triggered an overwhelming sense of optimism among the United masses.
Fernandes has been a bright spark in a team lacking real creative talent, with Paul Pogba sidelined for the majority of the season. Ighalo believes that when Fernandes and Pogba finally link up in the midfield, fans will see ‘a different team’.
“He (Pogba) is working hard to get back to fitness and imagine when we have Pogba and Bruno in the midfield, then you will see a different team – (Marcus) Rashford coming back also,” Ighalo said in the interview monitored on UK’s Sportsmail.
Ighalo knows Fernandes well as they spent time together in Italy seven years ago.
The 30-year-old Nigerian said further that the best is yet to come from his team-mate.
“Bruno is a fantastic player,” he added. “I played with him in 2013-14 at Udinese. We’ve not seen the best of him yet in the Premier League.
“Once Bruno Fernandes settles down in England you will see what that guy can do. He has vision, he wants the ball always. He can shoot, he can score goals, he is very intelligent.
“Before the ball comes, he is a step ahead to know what he wants to do. In times to come you are going to see what he can do in the Premier League, even better than what he is doing now,” stressed the AFCON 2019 top scorer.
Pogba’s injury restricted him to eight appearances so far this season, but he was primed to return before professional football in England was suspended because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I’ve been frustrated, a long time ago. Now I’m almost there, so I’m just thinking about getting back and training fully with the team and everything,” the 27-year-old Frenchman said in an official club podcast.
“You think bad, but I’ve never had something like this in my career, so I always take it in a good way. It makes me more hungry to come back and do well.”
Pogba suffered a foot injury in August that he aggravated by continuing to play.
“I had a cast on it, a plaster-cast, so it went very well but too well.
“The bone got bigger and so, when I came back again, I played those two games against Watford and Newcastle, I could feel something again.”
He underwent surgery in January and now cannot wait to return to action.
“So I had to have an operation and now here I am. I don’t feel anything, and, hopefully, I’ll be back very soon,” Pogba concluded.