Odion Ighalo arrived at Old Trafford to much fanfare in January and following a bright start, his form petered off in the last few months and his already scant first team minutes could disappear altogether following the summer acquisition of Uruguayan legend Edinson Cavani.
The former Nigerian striker has, however, welcomed the arrival of Cavani and relishes the increased competition for places in attack in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad due to the former Napoli and PSG striker’s presence.
Ighalo whose loan spell comes to an end next January, is yet to get off the mark for United in the league even though he found joy in Cup competitions last season.
He has yet to recapture his Cup form from last season, however, drawing blanks in United’s Carabao Cup victories, at Luton Town and Brighton, and has seen just nine minutes of action in the Premier League this season.
Buy with fellow forwards Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani both unavailable for the Red Devils trip to Newcastle on Saturday, the Nigerian could be in line for his first league start since his move to Manchester and the former Watford man has declared his readiness to step up if called upon.
I’m always ready,“ he told Manchester United website. “Whenever the gaffer calls me, my idea is just to give my best in training, work hard and wait for my opportunity – to take it.
“Hopefully, I’ll just keep my head down, keep working hard every day. Come to the training ground every day and give it my best. Whenever the gaffer needs me, I will come and give my best.”
Newcastle have had a decent start to the season and United’s last visit to Saint James’ Park ended in a defeat last season.
Solskjaer, however, desperately needs a win on Saturday to turn their season around following the 6-1 mauling at Old Trafford to Tottenham last time out – United’s second loss in three league games.
Ighalo contends the Red Devils are psyched up for the game and approach the encounter confident of getting a win.
“We are working hard and looking forward to it,” added Ighalo. “We’ve been training hard. Those of us who did not go to the international teams have been working seriously hard.
“Everyone is in top shape and, when those who have been in the international teams are all back, I think we are in good heart to win the game. I know we didn’t start the season well so we’ll try to start from this weekend and try to win the game to kick the season off.”
If called upon to lead the line against Newcastle, Ighalo would need to grab the opportunity with both hands as Cavani’s arrival on a free transfer has seemingly pushed him further down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
While his position in the team might be at stake, Ighalo believes the arrival of Cavani as well as new full-back Alex Telles and young winger Facundo Pellistri, will only be a positive for the squad.
“It’s good for the team, for everybody to be on their toes to work hard,” Ighalo said.
“For a big team, like Manchester United, you have to have competition for players to do well and I welcome the new guys coming in.
“They will bring more challenges to everyone in the team, to work hard for their positions to play in the team.”