Rotherham United winger Chiedozie Ogbene on Ireland call-up

ROTHERHAM UNITED winger Chiedozie Ogbene believes that his cherished first call-up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad is just reward for his painstaking road back to full fitness following a serious knee injury.

Chiedozie Ogbene.
Chiedozie Ogbene.

Ogbene has been called into Stephen Kenny's squad for the forthcoming games against Andorra and Hungary.

Ireland face the Andorrans in Barcelona on June 3 and take on Hungary in another friendly in Budapest five days later.

The 24-year-old Nigeria-born player, who was brought up in Cork and has previously played for League of Ireland sides Cork City and Limerick, was sidelined for much of 2020-21 following knee surgery, but returned for the run-in.

He featured eight times during a congested end to the season for the Millers and he is now eyeing a full international bow at senior level.

He said: “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.

“Of course, I am absolutely delighted to receive this call up to the Republic of Ireland national team, the thought of representing Ireland and sharing a pitch with the calibre of players we have at our disposal is a real honour and a privilege for me.

“Now, I’m just looking forward to the friendlies and can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the team and get going.”