Odion Ighalo may end up with a part to play in Manchester United’s Champions League fate.
A double injury to Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial has seen Ighalo rise from fifth choice available striker to third.
While this will not be enough for Ighalo to start the crucial game away at RB Leipzig, the Nigerian is a certainty to be on the bench.
Ighalo made his Champions League debut against PSG. He came on in the 89th minute and so barely had a chance to even touch the ball.
There could be a more substantive role for Ighalo in Germany tonight.
United have five available substitutes and Ighalo could be the only available striker on the bench.
This is working on the assumption United will start both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood up front in a 3-4-1-2 or 4-4-2 formation.
In a 4-2-3-1 both could play, if Rashford is up front and Dan James is selected on the wing.
If United need to change it up with fresh legs, or in case of injury, Ighalo would be the only striker option available from the bench.
The Nigerian has been underutilised since football returned in June, making a grand total of four starts, the last of which came in September.
Ighalo has not seized his more recent opportunities, with the last of his five goals coming back in June. So it would be a tall order for United to expect him to produce.
However, squad depth is important and anybody deriding Ighalo would do well to remember this is why he is here.
A freak occurrence of injuries to Cavani and Martial leave United short, and Ighalo could be very valuable cover.
His hold-up play is superior to that of Rashford and Greenwood, and that could be vital if United are looking to establish possession in the second half and close out a result.
What he may lack in match sharpness, Ighalo could make up for in motivation. This could be his big chance to become a hero for United and do something really meaningful.
If he is able to score the goal which changes United’s Champions League fate, it will help his loan spell be considered as worthwhile once again.
Solskjaer just needs to give him a proper chance, and not throw him on for just the final two or three minutes.
Fans in anticipation of Ighalo moment of glory
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