Rotherham United's Chiedozie Ogbene reveling in being the toast of Ireland
Rotherham winger Chiedozie Ogbene is basking in the glory of becoming the Republic of Ireland’s new star.
The 24-year-old got on the scoresheet and was named man-of-the-match as Ireland beat Luxembourg 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Ogbene is already a history maker, having become the first African-born player to pull on the green shirt earlier this year, but he is quickly becoming an important part of Stephen Kenny’s team.
His goal in Luxembourg was his second in five games for his country - already more than he has scored for the Millers - and he is excited at where his career is heading.
He said: “Good things are happening to me right now. I do believe in my own ability, the same way the coaches believe in me.
“I didn’t expect to be scoring goals, I just wanted to be the best for the team, to give my all, all my effort and I am happy to be getting goals for my effort.
“I am really enjoying myself. In 12 months, my career has really taken a drastic change. To experience football at this high level, it’s a joyful one for me. I am happy to be doing well for my country.
“We sacrifice so much. We know we had a tough patch, now we are reaping the rewards of our hard work. I am just really happy to be part of it and I am looking forward to the future.”
Although Ogbene and his Ireland team-mates will not be going to next season’s World Cup in Qatar as they have not qualified, he is happy with the progress Kenny’s side are making.
They are unbeaten in five games and will be confident of qualifying for Euro 2024.
“I am really excited for what the future holds,” he said.
“I said a few months ago when we were having difficult times that good things will happen. It was only a matter of time for us to click.
“To come to Luxembourg, score three goals and most importantly concede zero goals, it doesn’t matter what team you are playing, it’s a good team performance.”