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Shrewsbury Town's Nathanael Ogbeta: Being left out was the best for me

Nathanael Ogbeta claims his Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill has been the key behind his return to form.

Nathanael Ogbeta of Shrewsbury Town celebrates at full time. (AMA)
Nathanael Ogbeta of Shrewsbury Town celebrates at full time. (AMA)

Ogbeta, 20, endured a difficult summer after taking Town by storm during the second half of last season following his arrival from Manchester City.

After being named young player of the season, the left-sider was linked at length with newly-promoted Championship club Peterborough and it is understood a move was close to going through.

Town chief Cotterill spoke publicly on the rumours, in which he blasted Ogbeta’s agent for ‘ringing around everybody’ in search of a move for his young client.

Ogbeta’s 2021/22 has only started to get going over the last six weeks. He spent much of the first couple of months of the campaign kicking his heels on the touchline as Cotterill revealed he felt his training was not up to scratch.

Ogbeta, speaking for the first time yesterday since the speculation, admits the summer and early weeks of the season were difficult, but his time working with Cotterill at Sundorne Castle for the first time since the manager’s illness has helped him recover and rediscover his form to become a regular again. He believes being left out the side was ‘the best thing that has happened’ in his career.

Town were staying stay overnight in Carlisle ahead of the FA Cup second round tie against the League Two Cumbrians – in which Ogbeta is likely to start for the 10th match in a row for his side.

Ogbeta said: “I’m feeling a lot more confident now. I know the expectation now. Obviously the first season was a real high for me.

“It was a real moment ‘wow – look what I’ve just done’ and then the next season the expectation probably got to me a bit. But the manager kept on top of me, made sure I don’t rest on my laurels, made sure he’s always getting the best out of me.

“For me as a player That’s definitely helped me re-find my form, the manager being there to push me and get at me, I feel I’m back and want to keep improving and help the team with goals and assists.

“One hundred per cent (it was a kick up the backside), As young players and in general it’s so easy to get complacent, you think you’re going to play all of the time and your desire to improve can start to go. But me being out of the team was the best thing that’s happened to me going forward, because it’s made me see that every game and training session matters.”

“No matter how good you think you may be, if you’re not pulling your weight the manager’s not going to pick you.

“So for me now, I want to go into every game and session with the desire to do my best because I know I can be out of the team like that if I don’t do the right things.”

Ogbeta admitted the breakdown of a possible Championship move during the summer was disappointing, but Cotterill helped ensure it did not ‘mess with his head’.

He said: “It was something I hadn’t really dealt with in terms of that interest. But I feel the key is to not allow the interest to get to your head. “To hear the potential of going to the Championship could’ve messed with my head and the gaffer saw right through that. He was there to keep me level-headed.

“Even though it was a difficult patch for me, a stage I needed to learn and grow, I’ve come out of it the right side. It could’ve gone a way I could’ve lost my head but I’m not that type of person.”

“I know I’ve got a lot to work on, I know I need to keep improving and the right things will happen at the right time, I know I’m in a good place, working with the right manager, I just need to keep learning and improving, hopefully at the right time something can definitely happen in the future.”

Struggling Carlisle, for whom Keith Millen replaced Chris Beech at the helm in October, are down in 22nd in League Two, but won back-to-back league and cup games against Walsall and Lincoln at Brunton Park this week.

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