Back from Uyo, after Nigeria's 1-0 win over Tanzania where he tried as much as he could to
score, Odion is relaxing in his Lagos home, with family and friends surrounding him, although his wife and kids couldn't come back with him and are in his London home.
He has just escorted some visitors who came visiting as they know it'll be another month or two before he comes back to Lagos- his phones ringing as he takes up calls upon calls. Nigeria/ Watford's number one striker is surely a busy man.
Speaking to Linda Ikeji's Blog, the former Udinese, Granada and Julius Berger striker bares it all as he talks about playing for the Super Eagles, Sunday Oliseh, Gernot Rohr, the NFF, Vincent Enyeama and other issues.
'It's a great thing for me to represent my country, i don't think you will understand what it means when you turn out for your country.' He said exclusively to LIB, with a smile, calmness and humility about him that you rarely see with rich Nigerian footballers.
''You are not only representing your family or yourself, you are representing almost 170 million Nigerians so i'm happy whenever i turn out in the national colours. Am happy to represent my team when i'm called upon''
''I think we've only trained 3 or 4 times, but am seeing some changes in the team. I think Rohr is technically sound, he's making some changes in the team and though we missed a lot of chances in the game, the team played well, we have some balance, and if we continue the same way we have a good future . So we just have to continue the same way, keep the same coach and we'll have a great future'
Going to more sensitive issues such as the frosty relationship between former coach Sunday Oliseh and the NFF and what he witnessed while in camp with the FIFA recognized tactician, Odion refused to be drawn into the melee.
'I'm a professional footballer, when the NFF invite me i'm going to represent Nigeria not Oliseh or Amaju or anybody' he emphatically said to Linda Ikejis Blog.
'I'm going to represent 170 million Nigerians so i'm not going to say a word about SundayOliseh and the NFF's problem .
'I only know I trained under him for some time while he was there. The same way you read on the news and Twitter that's the same way i do too'
Speaking on similarities/differences between Gernot Rohr and former coach Sunday Oliseh, he said;
''The new coach is using 4-3-3 but the former one was using 4-2-3-1, but in terms of training there's slight difference. I can't start going into details but there ares some changes because every coach has their own style and tactic and that's it''
When asked to choose between Rohr or Oliseh, Odion replied;
'I don't think i can choose between both of them, they are both good coaches' 'i am a professional player i can play for any coach' You know when you are doing well every coach will love you but when your not, the same people will be at your back' so for me whether its the Super Eagles or my club side i'm a professional player and i'm ready to work with whoever' I'm not going to say i prefer this coach more than this'
'I will never say i want this coach or that coach, like i said every coach has their own pattern, i'm professional i just have to abide by the rules and play my part as a player'
There have been long-held rumours that some players in the Super Eagles give monetary gifts, cars and items to past Super Eagles coaches so as to gain 'favour' and be called up to for national assignments. Some players according to the rumours allegedly give this gifts and receive call ups in return no matter their club form or performance with the Super Eagles and Ighalo has said he isn't aware of anyone that gives money or gifts and that he would never try such.
'I don't know about players giving money to coaches for call ups i've not done that before and i'm telling you now i'll never do it- to give a coach or anyone money to invite me for the national team, Because if i start giving you money that means till the end of my career i'll be giving you money whenever i want to play for the Super Eagles'
''I've not done that before and i've not seen anyone that does that. But if it's working for the person then i wish him all the best but am not going to ever do it'
Ighalo, also dismissed the idea that there were caucuses and cliques in the Super Eagles camp.
'I don't know about what your saying, am just hearing it. I'm Odion Ighalo whenever i go to camp i'm friendly with everybody, i support everybody. I don't know anything like caucus there. Anybody that's doing that should come out and say it but for me i don't believe in all that. I just go play and train with my teammates and go my way'
Odion Ighalo salary.The Nigerian player was in the news last season when he revealed he turned down a £300,000 A WEEK from a Chinese football club! I really do not think i could have done that.I give him big kudos for that,because he wanted to play at the highest level he gave up that move that could have secured his family for life.But he now has a new contract with Watford and his salary still ain't bad.£70,000 a week is what most people will kill for.But hey,that is the life of a footballer,their salary is just crazy,absolutely crazy!
Ighalo who was linked with multiple clubs after his stunning football season last year with Watford also talked more about his new contract but was coy on the clubs such as Tottenham, Man U and Arsenal that were linked to his services.
'A lot of clubs were linked with me but the owner sat me down and said he wanted me to stay, he told me the new season will be good and we'll bring in new players. We'll reward for what you did last year with a new contract and for the fact you won't leave us' So i signed a new and improved contract, it's not the best contract but i'm happy'
When pressed by LIB to reveal clubs he rejected to remain at Watford, he said;
''(Laughs)No No, No I'm a Watford player, I'm not going to mention any club. You read it everyday on the newspapers and websites, you see the clubs that wanted me, the same way you heard that's how i heard and read too' I'm not allowed to say anything because i've signed a new contract. I'm not going to say anything'
Vincent Enyeama retired from the Super Eagles after a scuffle and disagreement with former coachSunday Oliseh but Ighalo says he misses the legendary Nigerian goalkeeper and wants him back.
'Enyeama is a big name in Nigerian football, off course every one misses him. Not only how he handles himself on the pitch but off the pitch as well he's a role model. Who wouldn't want Enyeama to play with him?' 'I want him back, we want him back' he asked. He is someone i look up to because he's a very good guy, i just wish him the very best'