Odion Ighalo has reportedly been banned from Manchester United’s training ground over fears of a potential coronavirus risk.
Ighalo, on loan at United from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season, has been working with a personal trainer at a separate location in Manchester.
The striker was instructed to train away from United’s AON Training Complex for health and safety issues, against the backdrop of the outbreak of the virus in China, which has already claimed more than 1,100 lives.
Ighalo did not travel with the United squad to a warm-weather training camp in Spain.
That was down to concerns that border restrictions could be tightened on travellers who have been in China within the past 14 days, potentially affecting his re-entry to the UK.
But it has emerged United also took the precautionary decision to make Ighalo train away from the club’s Carrington base, while he is still within the mandated 14-day incubation period.
Although Ighalo did not travel to the UK from Wuhan, the province where the coronavirus originated, United considered it the most sensible course of action for him to train away, to minimise the risk to players and staff.
While the prospect of Ighalo, 30, having been exposed to coronavirus is understood to be statistically minute, United felt they had to take precautionary measures, while the risk of infection was possible.
Explaining Ighalo’s absence from the warm-weather training camp, Solskjaer said: “Odion will stay in Manchester because since he has come from China in the last 14 days, the news of the virus there means we’re not sure if he’s going to be allowed back into England if he leaves the country again.
“So he’s staying here working with a personal coach on an individual programme and his family then can settle in England as well. That’s a plus.
“Of course, he might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them, but we don’t want to take that risk [of potential border restrictions tightening].”
With the United squad away in Marbella, Ighalo has been working on a personalised fitness programme with Manchester-based performance coach Wayne Richardson at the GB Taekwondo Centre in Manchester.
Ighalo will work with Richardson until tomorrow, before joining up with his United team-mates ahead of Monday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already confirmed former Nigeria international Ighalo will travel with the squad to Stamford Bridge and is expected to be named in the 18-man squad.
The Reds moved for Ighalo after top scorer Marcus Rashford was ruled out for up to three months with a double stress fracture of the back.
United have struggled for goals without Rashford and have brought in former Watford striker Ighalo to address the issue.
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