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'It's crazy' - Odogwu has had conversations with Italy and England

By Ian Cameron
Paolo Odogwu playing for England U20s in 2016 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)

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Wasps back Paolo Odogwu says he has had conversations with both Eddie Jones’ England and Franco Smith’s Italy, following a fine vein of form for the Coventry based club.

Odogwu – who can play on the wing but who has shone for Wasps at outside centre in recent weeks – told TheXV that Wasps head coach Lee Blackett selecting him at 13 has been a stroke of genius.

“The backing from Lee Blackett to actually play me at 13 instead of on the wing, and it’s sky-rocketed into me being a starter,” Odogwu told Jamie Lyall as part of an in-depth interview on the website.

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“It’s crazy this international conversation is even a thing because this time last year I was just trying to get into the Wasps team. International rugby is the pinnacle of the sport and I’d want to get involved, but at the moment I’m not trying to get ahead of myself in any way.

“I’ve had conversations with both sides, just to get a feel for what I’m like as a person, nothing concrete in terms of me being in either squad.

“And the Italian guys were asking how I even qualified because it wasn’t common knowledge until last week! It was just a ‘keep up the good work’ kind of thing, but playing for either one would be great and just help me get better as a player.”

Last week Blackett said Italy would be crazy to ignore Odogwu’s talents. “I fully expect conversations to happen now and it would be exciting for him. He has a big x-factor and maybe on the wing have not seen that enough and if you at him at 13 his attack is x-factor. He is also a good defender and good over the ball and has more to his game than pace.

“The way he can impose himself on a game is with ball in hand and taking people on and has built his confidence. When he has moved back to the wing he has been looking for the ball and we have moved him into certain positions from set-pieces because we are trying to use him as much as possible.”


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