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Paolo Odogwu jokes at his own expense, admitting he signed new club contract 15 days before England call-up

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Paolo Odogwu has had a laugh at his own expense, revealing that he signed his Wasps contract extension the day before his two-try man of the match display earlier this month at Bath which was followed by his call-up to Eddie Jones’s England squad for the Six Nations.     

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It was announced on Monday that the 23-year-old had signed an unspecified length contract extension at his Gallagher Premiership club. 

The perception was that Wasps had moved fast to pin down their man now that Odogwu had just been included by England and was suddenly a more coveted player in greater demand. 

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However, Odogwu has admitted that he put pen to paper on his new deal on January 7, 15 days before his value increased with his Test level call-up by Jones.     

Appearing on the latest episode of The Rugby Pod ahead of his first day in camp with England on Wednesday prior to the February 6 home game versus Scotland, Odogwu revealed with a smile that he had got the timing of his new deal all wrong given what had since happened to him in recent weeks.

“I actually re-signed the day before the Bath game,” he said, laughing how that probably left him out of pocket now that he has been elevated to the international ranks. “That was in the pipeline from the start of the season so once I started playing and showing my worth, we were having conversations trying to sort it out and then we got the deal done. Then I had that Bath game and all this international stuff, so it’s the opposite of how everyone thinks it has gone. 

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“But it was good. I wanted to stay at the club. It’s a good place and there is such a good vibe at the moment that I want to keep going… coming into the end of last season we were doing so well and I wasn’t involved as much as I wanted to be. 

“But still being part of that winning mentality and great culture coming into this year just drove me. I needed to be in this team, I needed to play and Malakai (Fekitoa) getting injured gave me the opportunity to get involved. I haven’t looked back since.”

He never imagined, though, England selection would follow so quickly. “I literally didn’t think I’d be on England’s radar at all to be honest because they had been doing so well recently and keeping the same sort of squad together and it has been working. 

“I was surprised to get any sort of international call. The Italy conversations happened and that blew up in the media and then it was after that I got the call from Eddie telling me I was on the radar. 

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“That little carrot from England that I might actually get in the squad meant I held off on the Italy thing and said I’d wait to see what happened but I didn’t expect it to be this Six Nations. That was a pleasant surprise,” he said, adding that he now hopes to be considered as both a winger and an outside centre having thrived recently in both positions at Wasps.

“With the smaller squad they are taking (just 28), I will be covering both. It gets me in the mix and gives me more of a chance of being involved. I definitely want to be an option at both. I’ve loved playing 13 this season. I’m a bit more involved and get on the ball more, get in the thick of it. Yeah, definitely covering both but I’m enjoying 13.”

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Paolo Odogwu jokes at his own expense, admitting he signed new club contract 15 days before England call-up

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