Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Man United's Odion Ighalo banned from training ground over coronavirus fears

Team hopes new signing Ighalo will be ready for Chelsea clash

Manchester United's deadline-day signing Odion Ighalo will go straight into the travelling squad at Chelsea, despite missing the club's warm-weather training camp due to travel restriction concerns. Steven Paston/PA
Manchester United's deadline-day signing Odion Ighalo will go straight into the travelling squad at Chelsea, despite missing the club's warm-weather training camp due to travel restriction concerns. Steven Paston/PA

Manchester United's new signing, Odion Ighalo, has been banned from training over coronavirus fears.

It comes as the number of officially diagnosed coronavirus cases in China surged after the Hubei provincial government began adding cases that were confirmed through imaging scans.

In Hubei, where the pathogen originated, the number of infections rose by 14,840, with 13,332 from the new category, and the death toll rose to 242.

Man United are hoping Ighalo will be in the squad for the Premier League clash with Chelsea next Monday.

This week he missed a training camp in Spain due to fears he could be denied re-entry into Britain if restrictions against the outbreak of coronavirus are tightened.

The Nigerian international striker, 30, joined United on loan until the end of the season on deadline day last month from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

The British government called the novel coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat", and said anyone with the disease can now be forcibly quarantined if they are deemed a threat to public health. The number of cases in the UK doubled to eight.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surged past 1,000 on Tuesday.

Most cases overseas have involved people who had been in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city where the virus emerged late last year, or people infected by others who had been there.

United said in a statement that Ighalo had been left out of the Spain squad to avoid any problems related to the virus on re-entry to Britain.

But manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club's website that Ighalo would be in the squad for a match that could have a crucial bearing on who finishes in the top four and qualifies for the Champions League next season.

"Yeah, he is going to travel with us," Solskjaer said. "We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp.

"We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us."

Ighalo, who has played his club football in China for the past three years after joining Changchun Yatai from Watford, was signed as emergency cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

Chelsea occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot and are six points clear of eighth-placed United.

The other three Champions League places look destined for Liverpool, Manchester City and third-placed Leicester, who have a 10-point advantage over fifth-placed Sheffield United and a game in hand.

Updated: February 13, 2020 06:14 AM

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