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Football

11th Nov 2023

Kevin Kilbane makes bold Chiedozie Ogbene prediction

Lee Costello

Chiedozie Ogbene

“Ireland are not the same team when he is injured.”

Chiedozie Ogbene is fast becoming one of Ireland’s brightest sparks as he continues to impress in the Premier League and former international star Kevin Kilbane has made a rather bold prediction about the player.

Plying his trade at Luton Town, the Irishman has had something of a metric rise in recent years, leapfrogging through the divisions, and now cementing his place in the best league of all.

Ogbene gave Liverpool a torrid time last weekend, when they managed to get an unlikely draw against Jurgen Klopp’s men, and his hot form continued today against Man United, who only just made it out of Old Trafford with a 1-0 win.

Writing in his Irish Times column, the former Everton and Sunderland player explains why the Ireland attacker is progressing so well.

“Simply put, Chiedozie is a class act. That’s been established over the past four years as the former Limerick FC winger, wing-back, centre forward or second striker (he could probably do a job in midfield) went from League One to the EFL Championship to exposing Alexander-Arnold at Kenilworth Road.

“The England international was targeted by Luton manager Rob Edwards. It was immediately evident that Ogbene was positioned on the left to isolate him. He continually burned Alexander-Arnold on the outside before drawing a number of fouls.

“By some distance Ireland’s best player throughout 2023, Ogbene’s technique has massively improved since his League One debut for Rotherham in 2019. He made improvements through relentless, individual work. There is no other way.

Kevin Kilbane makes bold Chiedozie Ogbene prediction.

On the back of these good performances, Ireland fans will be hoping that he remains in the Premier League, even if his team gets relegated this year, but Kilbane thinks he can aim even higher than that.

“There is no reason why he cannot aim for Champions League football. And not necessarily with an English team. It’s his versatility, the ability to play left or right, as an attacker or wing-back that will earn him a lucrative deal.

“Stephen Kenny, to his credit, identified Ogbene’s potential before most when capping him against Hungary in 2021. He rose to the challenge of going toe to toe with Hernandez or Kostas Tsimikas. Ireland are not the same team when he is injured.”

Not many people would have been calling for Ogbene to playing at the highest level in Europe even just a season ago, but seeing how quickly he has progressed in recent years, Kilbane’s prediction might just come to fruition.

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