Ogbonna backs Rice to succeed in England colours

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Angelo Ogbonna (L) of West Ham United celebrates the win with Declan Rice following the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Wembley Stadium on October 25, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Nigerian born central defender Angelo Ogbonna is happy for West Ham United teammate Declan Rice ahead of his England debut.

 

The former Juventus rear guard snubbed the Super Eagles for Italy despite moves by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to play for the three-time African champions.

Now 30, the central defender was born in Cassino to Nigerian parents who are both from Owerri West in Imo State, and made his debut for the Italian National Team against Poland in an international friendly in 2011, having played for the U21s two years earlier.

Just like Ogbonna, talented Rice opted to suit up for the Three Lions instead of the Republic of Ireland.

The decision received the blessing of the ex Torino enforcer.

“I did expect it to happen so quickly,” the defender told whufc.com. “Dec has a lot of quality and I’m very, very happy for him. This is just the beginning for him and I wish him the best of luck.

“I’m not surprised to be fair because everybody can see his quality. He is a talented player, but first of all I think he is a humble player, a humble person, so he deserves this and I wish him the best of luck for everything. He has to keep his feet on the ground and continue in this way.

“He can read the game, he is very good on the ball, as a centre half he can keep the ball at his feet and he can give the team the balance. He has many qualities as a young player and he has to keep working and improving.

“I think he has to work hard, like he has done all this time. He is a good talent and I think he’s ambitious as well, and that is very important at this level. With talent and quality, I think he can be successful for England.”

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