The man deserves better.
Chiedozie Ogbene picked up the Player of the Match award for his performance against France on Monday night in Ireland’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier.
While France had the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann on the pitch, Ogbene was the standout player.
He gave Theo Hernandez a torrid time on the right-wing, and the defender should have been booked for one of his many fouls on the Corkman.
He was playing a very unique position, as he was part of a front two alongside Evan Ferguson, while also having to chip in defensively when Hernandez bombed forward.
We gave a good account of ourselves tonight. We move forward ☘️ pic.twitter.com/q8pzPzHG0p
— Chiedozie Ogbene (@EdozieOgbene) March 27, 2023
Ogbene, because of the role he was tasked with playing in, also found himself marking none other than Mbappe at times, and he came out on top.
In the first few minutes, Mbappe took a heavy touch, and Ogbene bounced by getting his body in front of the electric forward.
Chiedozie Ogbene vs France
He won a foul, the crowd reacted as if Ireland had scored a goal, and the tone was set for the night. It came from Ogbene, and it came from him working hard.
This level of hard work and persistence continued throughout the game, but Ogbene also displayed nice calmness and composure when he did get the ball.
He held Hernandez off very well at times, and carried Ireland up the pitch when the defence needed a break.
His decision-making was spot on, and he can definitely hold his head up high despite the defeat. Speaking after the game, he showed the smile and attitude that goes some way in explaining why managers love him so much.
Man of the Match Chiedozie Ogbene's reaction after his outstanding performance tonight 💚#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/WW8JEIigrr
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) March 27, 2023
So he’s got the work ethic. He’s got the talent. He’s certainly got the attitude. Now it’s time for him to get the move.
There is simply no reason why he should playing in a relegation battle in the Championship with Rotherham. This is not intended as any disrespect towards a great club, but Ogbene needs to be playing at a higher level.
He should be playing in games as big as the France one every week. He should be playing on those European nights that everyone is watching, or at the very least, in the Premier League.
Irish players have been overlooked for the past 20 years, but the likes of Nathan Collins, Evan Ferguson and Gavin Bazunu seem to be changing that.
Here’s hoping Ogbene is next.
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