I’m not going to quit after one camp! Wasps star Paolo Odogwu refuses to turn his back on England and play for Italy as centre insists he is happy to battle for Red Rose place despite Six Nations snub
- The powerful back, 24, was selected for England in January when in top form
- But he failed to make into the match-day squad despite Six Nation struggles
- Odogwu also qualifies for Italy but he is prepared to fight for England chance
Paolo Odogwu could switch allegiance to Italy after Eddie Jones snubbed him in the Six Nations — but the Wasps star is prepared to fight for his England chance.
The powerful back, 24, qualifies for the Azzurri via his father but was selected for England in January when in top form.
While taken into the 28-man camp he was left without a match to play for 11 weeks, becoming a cause for frustration for fans who were desperate to see him win a cap as England struggled.
Wasps star Paolo Odogwu certainly catches the eye both on and off the pitch
Only four backs have scored more tries in the Premiership this season than Paolo Odogwu’s five, despite the Wasps man sitting it out for 11 weeks while with England.
Odogwu himself is philosophical about it, prepared to prove he is worthy of recognition.
‘England is the place for me,’ he confirmed having spoken to Italy boss Franco Smith before the tournament. ‘I can’t just run away from it now as I haven’t been picked in one camp.’
Odogwu though, did see the outcry each week. ‘It wasn’t hard to miss as a lot of people have a lot of opinions!’ he laughed.
‘It is quite nice seeing so many people backing me but you don’t take it to heart. I’m the only one in the set-up so the only one who really knows what’s going on.
‘There was a lot of “he’s not getting picked and just holding bags” which wasn’t the case.
‘Everyone there is training properly, doing everything the same. I felt like I was getting a lot out of it.
The powerful back, 24, was selected for England in January when in top form
‘Eddie was positive with me for the whole camp, took me under his wing almost and was constantly telling me how much he believed in me.’
Odogwu travelled to each match even though he sustained a shoulder knock around the Wales game.
But away from training he would spend time on arty projects.
He and Wasps fly-half Jacob Umaga have started a clothing brand, Composure Club, for which Odogwu is chief designer. ‘I ordered a massive A2 sketch pad off Amazon before I went into camp and a load of colours — I was sitting there doodling,’ he explained.
‘We had a lot of free time so I could randomly think of a design and sketch it down. It was good to hone my designs without anything else to think about.
Odogwu also qualifies for Italy but he is prepared to fight for England chance
‘I have quite an eclectic fashion sense as my Mum would say. I love vintage and old school American clothing but also band T-shirts, rock T-shirts where they have a really nice graphic prints.
‘I have always loved drawing and it is my way of switching off.
‘It is quite peaceful. You can sit there and do whatever design you want and express yourself.
‘It is hard to show your personality in rugby because it is such a gentlemanly sport.
‘You don’t have those massive characters, apart from a couple of people, as you would in American football or basketball. For me to express myself with my boots and having red hair and stuff like that, it is nice to be able to bring a bit of individuality to the sport.’
On Sunday, Odogwu will play for Wasps against Bath, aiming to paint himself back into the England picture this summer.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article