The Anglo-Nigerian forward finally left Chelsea in August after spending several years with the Blues and has taken time to reflect on his spell with the London giants
English-born Nigerian striker Ike Ugbo has confessed that Arsenal were the club he loved and supported even while he was with the youth team of bitter London rivals, Chelsea.
Ugbo was at Chelsea for more than a decade until this summer when he completed a €3.5 million move to Belgian side KRC Genk.
Despite being prolific for the Blues youth teams in the U-18 Premier League and the Premier League 2, Ugbo never featured for the first team.
After unimpressive loan spells for a couple of Championship and League One clubs, the youngster excelled in the Netherlands and Belgium with Roda JC and Cercle Brugge.
A permanent switch to Genk followed last month, and the former Barnsley loanee has revealed his affection for Arsenal and Thierry Henry, as well as his delight in a certain Gunners victory over Chelsea on a day when he was a ball boy for the Blues.
“Now that I’m gone, I can say it out loud. Arsenal was my favourite team,” Ugbo told Sports Magazine.
“And Thierry Henry, my favourite player. I learned to love Chelsea while I was there.
“I was also (a ball boy) at Chelsea vs Arsenal, the match in which Robin van Persie made a hat-trick. That is my favourite match until today, but I couldn’t say that for a long time either.”
Ugbo has also confirmed his desire to feature for the Super Eagles at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, despite representing England at the U17 and U20 levels.
Born in England to a Nigerian father and a French mother and raised partly in Canada, the 22-year-old is still eligible to play for any of the four countries.
But he has decided on Nigeria and reveals that his application is already in progress.
“I choose Nigeria. We are currently preparing the papers. The upcoming World Cup will play its part in this. I think I have more chances with Nigeria than with England.
“I also grew up with images of the national team and always followed their strikers, especially the boys who came to England.”
The Super Eagles boosted their chances of qualifying for the next edition of the Mundial with a come-from-behind 2-1 win away over Cape Verde on Tuesday. The three-time African champions sit comfortably at the top of Group C with a maximum of six points.