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West Ham’s Ogbonna reveals Juventus inspiration as he prepares for Liverpool

Angelo Ogbonna is keen to impress that he alone is not the reason for West Ham ’s lofty Premier League position.

That every member of David Moyes’s squad deserves credit for the role they have played.

He’s right, of course, but he’s also humble and, as plenty of West Ham fans will tell you, his performances in central defence this season alongside Craig Dawson have been the bedrock upon which the Hammers’ rise has been built.

The former Juventus player has been excellent, although there should be no real surprise that a man who learned so much from Italy’s fabled BBC — Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini — during his days alongside them at Juventus is now widely recognised as one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League.

Bonucci and Chiellini played a major role in Ogbonna’s football education

“I have a fantastic relationship with all of them,” Ogbonna said. “I really grew up with them, they taught me a lot.

“Each of them taught me one part.

“Chiellini is a fantastic leader, maybe the best of the three.

“He is very aggressive, he reads the game very well, he’s composed not only when he is on the ball but just whenever he is on the pitch and that helped me to read the game, to read situations.

“Barzagli is the one who never talks but is always there for everyone.

“That’s why I always say, ‘Action always talks compared with words’.

Silent warrior Andrea Barzagli slides in to try to stop Heung-min Son
Silent warrior Andrea Barzagli slides in to try to stop Heung-min Son

“And it’s very important that the personality of Bonucci… even if he makes a mistake, he has the personality to come back.”

No strangers to the dark arts, presumably they taught him a thing or two about kicking opponents as well?

“Yes,” he added, laughing. “As a defender you have to do your best.”

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Understandably, it was hard for Ogbonna to find a way past them but he still more than played his part as Juve won two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italia in his two years at the club.

He joined West Ham in 2015 and, while it hasn’t always been plain sailing since then, this season they are flying.

David Moyes has completely changed the feel and ambition around West Ham, according to Ogbonna
David Moyes has completely changed the feel and ambition around West Ham, according to Ogbonna

Ogbonna said: “It’s the most important time since I came to West Ham. There is a real unity, a real togetherness.

“Since the manager came in, everything changed. We are united, we try our best.

“Last year we stayed up, everyone did their job in the background. You can see that everything in the club has changed.

“Everything comes from the basics, everything comes from discipline. Everyone is doing what they have to do, even the young lads.

“Even when we have a day off, everyone comes in. They want to do their job, they want to do something important for the club.

Ogbonna gets up close and personal with Roberto Firmino, and the pair are set to meet again on Sunday
Ogbonna gets up close and personal with Roberto Firmino, and the pair are set to meet again on Sunday

“When I joined it was an important year but the unity was totally different.

“You can feel it in the club, there are more ambitions.”

Ogbonna knows he is in for a test against Liverpool ’s fabled front three on Sunday afternoon after they fired themselves back into the groove against Tottenham on Thursday.

He added: “They never have bad form. Of course they have bad games and bad results, but never bad form.

“They are always a threat. It’s good for us to have a test against them.”




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