Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has confessed that he did not envisage that he would be called up to the Super Eagles for their international friendlies against Uganda and South Africa back in 2015 because he was playing for a Championship team, Watford.
Despite playing in the strongest league in the world, La Liga for three consecutive seasons, Ighalo was consistently overlooked for national team selection until his move to Watford, where his outstanding performances put him in the spotlight.
“Why I didn’t believe then is because I played three years in the Spanish La Liga with big boys, I wasn’t invited to the national team,” Ighalo said to Offline Utmostt Review.
“Then I came to Watford when they were in the Championship and you’re telling me I am going to be invited. I was not bothered because they didn’t invite me when I was in La Liga.”
Ighalo struggled for game time during his spell at Udinese, managing only five appearances before ending his association with the Italian Serie A club.
The former Lyn Oslo starlet argued that he had to accept to join third-tier Granada on loan because he found it difficult breaking into the Bianconeri starting lineup due to the presence of more experienced strikers in the squad such as Alexis Sánchez, Simone Pepe, Fabio Quagliarella, Antonio Floro Flores and Antonio Di Natale.
“Udinese came for me and two other teams in Netherlands and Russia. My first season in Udinese was not easy because we had the likes of Di Natalle, Fabio Quagliarella, Floro Flores, Simone Pepe, Alexis Sanchez, we all played in Udinese together back then 2008-2009. It was not easy I was not playing much.
“I had to go on loan to Granada and they were in Segunda B, when they proposed the loan to me I said I wasn’t going, how would I leave the Italian Serie A for third division.
“Sometimes in life if things are not going well for you, you have to make one, two steps backwards then three upwards, that’s what I learnt about life.
“I was reluctant to go but I went, I did well, scored goals and helped the team gain promotion to Segunda Division.
“I didn’t want to play in the Segunda Division, I got a loan to Cesena in Italy, I played there six months and I said Italian league is not for me, things did not go well.
“I went back to Spain again in Granada then played six months, I even scored the goals that brought us to the La Liga and played in La Liga for three years,” Ighalo concluded.