Ighalo skips Man United training over virus fears

DELIVERED WITH CARE: Odion Ighalo of Nigeria, left, curls the ball past Jonathan Nahimina of Burundi to score the winning goal during last year's Africa Cup of Nations Group B match in Alexandria, Egypt. Ighalo is on loan to Manchester United from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua
DELIVERED WITH CARE: Odion Ighalo of Nigeria, left, curls the ball past Jonathan Nahimina of Burundi to score the winning goal during last year's Africa Cup of Nations Group B match in Alexandria, Egypt. Ighalo is on loan to Manchester United from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua
Image: VISIONHAUS

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has yet to set foot in the club’s training ground since joining on loan from Shanghai Shenhua after being told to stay away due to concerns over the coronavirus, it was  reported on Thursday.

The flu-like virus has killed more than 1,300 people and infected about 60,000 in China after it first emerged in Wuhan late last year.

Ighalo has been training at the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester since arriving on loan from the Chinese club almost two weeks ago.

The mandated 14-day incubation period will come to an end this weekend and Ighalo is expected to join first-team training ahead of United’s Premier League match against Chelsea on Monday.

The former Watford striker missed United’s midseason training camp in Spain but has been building his match fitness with performance coach Wayne Richardson.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed this week that Ighalo would be in the squad to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers says he knows the real James Maddison and is ignoring the “narrative” which sections of the media have constructed around the midfielder.

Newspapers published photos on Monday of Maddison “partying” in Dubai during the Premier League’s midseason break ahead of Leicester’s return to action against Wolverhampton Wanderers today.

The 23-year-old has previously been criticised for going to a casino on the night England lost a Euro 2020 qualifier to Czech Republic last October after withdrawing from the squad due to illness.

“People want to fit a narrative around him so I don’t worry so much about that side.

“I know the reality of what he is and what he gives,” Rodgers said.

“It’s unfortunate. We’re supposedly in this world where everyone cares.

“Rubbish — the first thing they do is try to stitch you up.

“This is a 23-year-old boy who is single; he’s been given a week free.

“We try to educate them in many ways but this is something I’m not too bothered about.”

Maddison has scored nine goals in all competitions this season for Leicester, who sit third in the Premier League.

He has been tipped to earn a spot in England’s Euro 2020 squad after making his senior debut in a 7-0 win over Montenegro last year.

“He is a talent; what we try to educate off the pitch is to focus every day on training and how important training is.

“It’s not just about the talent, you have to work at your talent,” Rodgers said.

Newcastle United have been handed a double injury boost ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to Arsenal with forwards Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto back in first-team training, the club said on their website.

Brazilian Joelinton picked up a rib injury in Newcastle’s 3-2 win at Oxford United in the FA Cup fourth-round replay last week, while Japan’s Muto has not played since early last month because of a hip problem.

Their return will bolster manager Steve Bruce’s forward options heading into the weekend with both Andy Carroll (hip) and Dwight Gayle (hamstring) sidelined.

Newcastle, who have lost each of their last seven visits to the Emirates Stadium, are in 12th spot on 31 points, two places below Arsenal on goal difference. — Reuters

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