ODION IGHALO said it was a moment he will cherish for the rest of his life.
The boyhood Manchester United fan started a game at Old Trafford and scored in a 5-0 Europa League win over FC Brugge on Thursday night.
The 30-year-old Nigerian could not have imagined the scenario in his wildest dreams after three-years in obscurity playing in China.
But Oghalo said: “This is what I dreamt of. I dreamt of playing for United and scoring my first goal. I’m very happy for that.
“It feels great. Old Trafford, seeing the fans singing my name, screaming for me. I’m very grateful.
“I waited for this moment and this is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
The on-loan striker, who scored the second on Thursday, paid tribute to the United fans – insisting ‘I’m one of you’ having supported the club all his life.
He said: “They see me as one of their own because I came to this team because I supported them from young and I want to give my best to do whatever it takes to move forward.
“They appreciate that and I appreciated them from the first day I stepped on the field in Manchester.
“They have been behind me and I hope it continues like that.
“I promise them I will give my best, win, lose – I don’t care about the circumstances, I will keep giving my best.”
The Nigerian dedicated the goal to his sister Mary who died suddenly in December.
Married Mary Atole collapsed at her home in Canada on the morning of December 12, just as she was getting her children ready for school.
He said: “She is a Man United fan. We prayed for this moment to play for United.
“Unfortunately she is not here to see me doing that. I promised I would dedicate every goal I scored.
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“I am happy that I did that and wherever she is, she is happy that I’m doing that and she is doing great.”
Having joined on transfer deadline day last month from Shanghai Shenhua Ighalo made three substitute appearances before Thursday’s start.
He could be in the line-up again on Sunday as United travel to face Everton.
Anthony Martial is still being assessed after he was injured in training the day before the Europa League tie.
Solskjaer described it as a problem around his thigh and knee but said that the fact he did a fitness test on the morning of the game showed it was not that serious.
As it is he has faith in Ighalo, a player who honed his striking skills watching the great United side Solskjaer was part of.
He said: “Yes I watched him when I was young. I watched a lot of them Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sherigham, Ole.
“Playing for him now is great for me. I’m very happy.”
Ighalo insists there will be plenty more to come from him having last played before is move in early December at the end of the Chinese season.
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He said: “I know I’m not 100 percent fit. My last game I played was December 6. That’s when I played, in the FA Cup final in China. So I’m getting there bit by bit.
“The league here is faster, stronger, you need more strength. I’m getting better every day, but I’m not 100 percent fit.”
So to Goodison as the reality of Oghalo’s dream continues.
This post written by Joshua Jones originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.