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Ogbonna fighting fit and back to his best

Filed: Monday, 19th February 2018
By: Staff Writer

One of the contenders for this season's Hammer of the Year award has spoken of his delight to just be playing pain-free again.

Angelo Ogbonna has been a virtual ever-present under both Slaven Bilic and David Moyes this season, having fought his way back from a serious and persistant knee injury that kept him sidelined for four months between January and May last year.

Having recovered in time to feature in the starting XI at Burnley on the final day of last season (a 2-1 win), the Italian international enjoyed the benefit of a full pre-season which has helped him produce his most consistent form since joining West Ham.

Unusually he has also scored three goals - against Bolton and Tottenham in the Carabao Cup and the opener in United's 2-1 defeat at Manchester City. And it's that kind of form that has seen Ogbonna's name mentioned as a contender for end-of-season awards - although he's just enjoying being injury-free.

"I am definitely benefitting from having the operation on my knee," he told whufc.com. "Everybody knows it was an injury I had for a long time and they advised me to have the surgery, so I had it done. It has really helped me.

"Since I had the surgery, our head physiotherapist Dominic Rogan has worked with me on my rehabilitation, helped me to do things right and get myself ready to play at 100 per cent.

"Now I feel very good. Of course, I feel a little bit tired sometimes but everything is mental so if you are prepared mentally, you can perform to your best physically."

Ogbonna also paid tribute to new manager David Moyes, whom he credited with improving the squad's overall fitness and various other attributes - introducing a system that is perhaps more popular abroad. "He is not just like an Italian manager, but like a European manager," he added.

"Today, everything in football is improving. We are doing lots of things - tactics, positional work, technical work, running - and in the Premier League this is essential, because you have to be fit. We improved a lot in the last month or two.

"We changed the shape [defensively] but itís not just that. We run much better than before, not only in distance but in the quality of our running."

* Do you think Angelo Ogbonna is a genuine contender for this season's Hammer of the Year? Let us know in the Comments section below or by visiting the Forum.

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