Rotherham United: Millers star better for the Republic of Ireland than his club, boss admits

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny admits Chiedozie Ogbene is playing better for his country than he does for Rotherham.

By Jonathan Veal
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 3:15 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2022, 3:15 pm

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Ogbene continued his spectacular start to international football with a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw against world number one ranked side Belgium on Saturday.

The Millers winger scored a superb overhead kick and then laid on Alan Browne’s goal with a pinpoint cross as Ireland earned a deserved draw.

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Chiedozie Ogbene of Republic Of Ireland celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Belgium at Aviva Stadium: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The 24-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer but the Millers have an option on, has now scored as many goals for his county in just six games as he has done in over 75 appearances in a red and white shirt.

Kenny said: “I knew he would be a real threat for us and that he had great attributes, but it’s a spectacular start.

“To score three goals in two qualifiers and then a big game against the world number one team. Apart from his goals, he gives us so much at the moment.

“We ask some of the players to elevate their performances above their club form because that’s what we need to do.

Ireland's Chiedozie Ogbene is in fine form for his country: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

“If we’re going to be competing with Belgium or Portugal or Serbia or any of those teams, we need our players to elevate their performances above what they can do even for their clubs playing for Ireland.

“That’s what we need them to do, and Chiedozie certainly is doing that.”

Ogbene will be hoping to add to his tally when Ireland host Lithuania on Tuesday. John Egan and Conor Hourihane, of neighbours Sheffield United, have also reported for duty with Kenny’s squad.

"We've worked hard to get here and we want to match everyone,” Ogbene said. “We can't worry too much about the opposition - that's out of our control - but hard work will get you something in this business."

Ogbene’s success against Belgium will come with mixed feelings for the Millers fans, who were upset that he was left on the bench for last week’s home defeat to Shrewsbury - a result that could have a huge impact on the League One promotion race.

Boss Paul Warne said he did not start him or fellow winger Mickel Miller on the advice of medical staff, who warned of an injury.