Republic of Ireland boss revels at Chiedozie Ogbene’s performance as Belgium are held in Dublin

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny revealed he is still trying to process the speed at which Chiedozie Ogbene has managed to adapt to international football.

The 24-year-old put on a man-of-the-match display as his goal and assist helped the Irish to a 2-2 draw against the world's number one ranked team, Belgium. 

Ogbene, who plays club football at League One's Rotherham, has now scored three goals in six senior appearances - a stat which has left Kenny very impressed.

The Ireland boss said: "I knew he would be a real threat for us and that he had great attributes, but it's a spectacular start.

"To score three goals in two qualifiers and then a big game against the world number one team. Apart from his goals, he gives us so much at the moment.

"We ask some of the players to elevate their performances above their club form because that's what we need to do.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at the FAI Headquarters, Abbotstown, after signing a new contract until Euro 2024. Picture date: Thursday March 10, 2022.

"If we're going to be competing with Belgium or Portugal or Serbia or any of those teams, we need our players to elevate their performances above what they can do even for their clubs playing for Ireland. That's what we need them to do, and Chiedozie certainly is doing that."

Ireland were forced to come back from behind on two occasions as Michy Batshuayi and Hans Vanaken got the goals for the Red Devils.

However, Roberto Martinez's side simply couldn't handle Ogbene, who backed up his first-half goal by setting up Alan Browne for the late equaliser.

Ogbene told Sky Sports: "These are world number ones and we matched them today. That is how far we have come in the last 12 months. We want to be up there with the best and this is where we want to play.

"We believe in ourselves and we have worked hard to get here and we want to show what we are capable of.

"We can't worry about the opposition - and that's not being arrogant. We can only control what we can control. Hard work will get you something in this business. The easiest thing would be to sit back and accept defeat, but we didn't."

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