Football

'I’ve Always Thought He Was Talented. He Has Electric Pace'

'I’ve Always Thought He Was Talented. He Has Electric Pace'

The FAI has started the eligibility process for Chiedozie Ogbene after the Rotherham winger expressed his desire to play for Ireland to Stephen Kenny.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Nigeria, moved to Ireland aged seven. He played underage football in Cork with College Corinthians, Kilreen Celtic, Tramore Athletic and Everton before joining Cork City in 2015.

He moved to Limerick in 2017 and then signed for Brentford in 2018. After a year on loan at Exeter, he moved to Rotherham last summer.

"It's one that won't happen for September, it could take over four months to be processed," Ireland manager Kenny said on Wednesday regarding Ogbene's paperwork.

We feel as someone who's lived in Ireland that he should qualify but there's various bureaucratic procedures involved.

I’ve spoken to Chiedozie. He’s come through the system, he had lived in Ireland since he was seven-years-old. He came on in the FAI Cup final for Cork against me with Dundalk. Obviously he was Limerick and did really well there.

He had to go the hard way about it, going on loan to Exeter for a year and then coming up through Rotherham. He had a really exceptional season this season.

I’ve always thought he was talented. He has electric pace and traditionally we’ve not had that, those lightning fast forwards.

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Ogbene made 25 appearances for Rotherham this season in League One, scoring once and providing three assists as the club won promotion to the Championship.

Kenny also said that there are "question marks" regarding the prospect of Birmingham midfielder Dan Crowley playing for Ireland due to the same issue which caused complications with Sevilla's Ryan Johansson declaring for the Republic. Johansson, who has since declared for Sweden, played for Luxembourg before securing Irish citizenship. FIFA ruled that this made him ineligible to play for Ireland.

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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