Why Rotherham United winger is living the dream
Rotherham winger Chiedozie Ogbene is revelling in his “dream” international call-up.
The 24-year-old was named in the Republic of Ireland squad for friendlies against Andorra and Hungary next month.
It is a first call for the country where Ogbene grew up and is a nice ending to what was a miserable club campaign.
Ogbene made a flying start to the season before suffering a knee injury in October, which required surgery and kept him out until April.
But he showed enough in the final few games to convince Stephen Kenny to take a closer look at him.
Ogbene said: “To get the opportunity to play at this level is every player’s dream. It is great news to hear after facing such a challenging year personally and I’m excited for the challenge of testing myself in such a prestigious environment.
“As I’ve said previously, I believe in myself and I think that the Rotherham players and the coaching staff believe in me too.
“I’m extremely grateful to them for helping me through such a difficult season with my injury and subsequent rehab.
“This was the first long-term injury that I have had in my career and it was a huge shock to me initially and it felt like a long road back, but being selected for Ireland really does feel like a reward for all the hard work.”
Republic boss Kenny explained why he made the call to being Ogbene into the senior set-up.
He said: “Chiedozie Ogbene, having gone from Limerick to England, he had a great season with Rotherham two seasons ago in League One. He is a very, very fast powerful right winger.
“We don't have that type of player in the squad, he is different to what we have got.
“He's very quick and was very influential in Rotherham getting promoted to the Championship. Unfortunately he has been injured for a lot of the year, he had an injury that kept him out for five months.
“That limited his availability to Rotherham this year and I think they missed him. He came towards the end of the season, I seen him play. He was playing as a wing back or centre forward, but he's mainly a right winger and that's where he does his best work.”