Chiedozie Ogbene says it was an ‘honour’ to pull on Rotherham United shirt

Rotherham's Chiedozie Ogbene
Rotherham's Chiedozie Ogbene
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Chiedozie Ogbene claimed he “couldn’t turn down” a move to Rotherham United following his exciting debut against Tranmere Rovers.

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The 22-year-old arrived in South Yorkshire on Thursday from Brentford, giving him just two days with his new team-mates before Saturday’s stalemate.

The Nigerian-born player, who moved to the Republic of Ireland with his family in 2005, was the Millers’ brightest attacking threat.

He posed numerous problems for the visitors with his direct running and dangerous deliveries from the left wing.

His intent to create chances could not yield all three points as United were hit by a last-gasp sucker-punch by resilient visitors Tranmere.

“I had a feeling about Rotherham and I was pushing it as much as I could,” he said of his move.

“I did my research about the club. It is a great club with great ambition here. The manager was really keen to have me and when you feel wanted I couldn’t turn it down.

“It was an honour to put on that jersey today and fight for the team.

“With more games I think we are going to bond more and I think we are going to be dangerous this season.”

Ogbene attended Rotherham’s opening-day 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon and after one conversation with manager Paul Warne, he was determined to join the Millers.

He added: “I knew straight away from talking to him (Paul Warne) that I wanted to be here.

“What I really like is that he brings players in that he wants to improve, that he believes can help the team. He doesn’t just bring players in for the sake of it. After that conversation I was really, really eager to get going.

“Rotherham were really keen and the only club, I believe, to make a proper offer. Brentford were really keen to help me get my career going.”

Ogbene could have had two assists against Tranmere if his team-mates had been able to provide a finish from his threatening crosses.

Michael Smith only needed to apply a firmer touch from a ball whipped across the face of the goal before Matt Crooks blazed a first-time effort over the bar at the back post.

However, Ogbene feels that the goals will soon begin to flow for the Millers once Warne’s side have more time to gel.

“I think I will bring pace and power and I can offer that outlet on the left or the right and through the middle,” said the 22-year-old.

“Carrying the ball today, I feel like I took some pressure off the team.

“But I feel like today was extremely difficult because it was my first day playing with the boys and they didn’t know what to expect when I was putting balls in.

“As the games go on, we will gel more and I will offer that pace and power in behind and get the ball to feet to take on defenders and get balls in the box.”

Ogbene’s debut came earlier than expected as he was introduced as a 12th-minute substitute following a suspected hamstring injury to Kyle Vassell.

The Millers talisman could be out for up to eight weeks. Rotherham will learn the extent of the injury later today.

Ogbene said: “I am very disappointed for Vass (Kyle Vassell) for picking up a knock.

“But I was raring to go, I was so excited to come on and it was an honour to be on the pitch.

“The manager wants me to do well, he wants me to be positive and it was so easy for me to play today; I was playing with freedom.”

The Millers were denied their first win on home soil this campaign by Stefan Payne’s last-minute equaliser at the New York Stadium. Rotherham had put themselves in front through Ben Wiles’s first senior goal for the club in the 73rd minute.

It was a frustrating end to a hard-fought game for Warne’s men but Ogbene insists that United will learn from it.

He said: “If we managed the game out well we would have been talking about how we didn’t play well but we still got the three points, and that is what good teams do.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t lose, and good teams don’t play well and still take a draw or win. We have got to take the positive, we got one point.

“At home it is not the best, but we will learn from it.

“There will be teams who will sit back and we will have to break them down.

“We did put on a good performance in the second half, it is the little margins that count.

“The first half wasn’t great but in the second half we regrouped and we played really well and I think we were unfortunate to not get the three points.

“It is a learning curve and whenever we are in similar situation we will know what to do.”

Rotherham United: Iversen; Olosunde, Ihiekwe, Wood, Robertson; Wiles, Barlaser (Lindsay 46), Crooks; Ladapo (Mattock) 89, Smith, Vassell (Ogbene 12). Unused substitutes: MacDonald, Thompson, Bilboe, Southern-Cooper. 

Tranmere Rovers: Davies; Ridehalgh, Monthe, Ray, Nelson (Woods 90); Morris, Perkins, Potter, Jennings; Payne, Mullin (Hepburn-Murphy 75). Unused substitutes: Ponticelli, Gilmour, Maddox, Pilling, Walker-Rice. 

Referee: A Haines (Tyne and Wear).