From the brink of quitting to the return of enjoyment: Omar Bogle on his journey to Doncaster Rovers and finding the excitement again

Omar Bogle is excited about the prospect of kick-starting his career at Doncaster Rovers.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 12:00 pm

Such optimism is particularly significant for a player who was close to walking away from the game six months ago.

Bogle was one of the most promising strikers in the country when he roared out of non-league with Grimsby Town and continued his blistering scoring run in the EFL.

But ever since he departed Blundell Park four years ago, his career has lacked any real fluency and the chance to truly establish himself in the upper echelons has failed to materialise.

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Omar Bogle

A short spell at Wigan Athletic was followed by three years at Cardiff City where he made only 24 appearances and was sent out on four loans.

As his contract in South Wales expired with little progression in his career, Bogle seriously considered calling time on his playing days.

“My enjoyment of the game had completely gone,” he told the Free Press.

“It was to the extent that I considered at the end of last season, in the summer, that I was going to stop playing.

Omar Bogle on his Rovers debut against Fleetwood. Picture: Steve Flynn/AHPIX

“It was only really my dad, my agent, my friends and my missus that stopped me. I wouldn’t say they persuaded me but they were onto me, saying other people hadn’t been gifted my talents and I shouldn’t waste it.

“My enjoyment over the years, with some of the things that I’ve faced as a player, it has sucked the enjoyment out of it.

“Looking at it now, it would have been a shame to waste what I have got and any opportunities that I could have.

“Ultimately there are millions of people in the world who would give anything to be in the position that I’m in, being able to play football at the levels I’ve been at and where I am now.

Omar Bogle gets to grips with life at Rovers against Fleetwood. Picture: Steve Flynn/AHPIX

“With lockdown and mental health, how it made us feel, the emotions and the situation we were in, I don’t think that helped.

“I went to Charlton, got used to training again every day, playing games. I’m back now and I’m happy I didn’t make that choice.”

He joined Charlton Athletic in October and made 17 appearances before dropping down the pecking order and lining up his exit last month.

Another largely unsuccessful spell at a club could easily have sparked more introspection from Bogle but his focus is on ensuring he reaps rewards from his time at the Keepmoat.

He admits his personality rather than his qualities as a footballer may have caused issues at other clubs but he feels he will be given the freedom to express himself with Rovers, which in turn will bring out the best in him on the pitch.

“It’s never been for footballing reasons,” he said. “No club has ever said to me that I’m not good enough for them. That is not the truth.

“I’ll be honest and they could never say that.

“Sometimes I feel it has gone beyond football and it’s not really because of the football.

“I’m my own person, I don’t shy away from that.

“In football, you’re kind of taught to be regimented but I am who I am and that’s what it is.

“I feel like that hasn’t been accepted so much in my career so far.

“But I feel like coming to play for the gaffer here, one of the first things he told me was to be myself and that he won’t ever put emphasis on me being someone I’m not, or trying to be a different player to who I am.

“He just wants me to be myself, relax and try to enjoy my football again.

“Being in an environment and playing for a manager who is only going to try to develop players and make the team better, it’s huge.

“I haven’t had somewhere where I’ve settled, played games and got into a real rhythm.

“That was part of my thinking coming here. Hopefully I can settle and get back playing, surrounded by good players and good people.

“I just want to keep working at my game and improving, which can build my momentum again like it was when I was progressing my team.”

Moore is a keen proponent of allowing players to express themselves but demands hard work in return - something Bogle is certain he will deliver.

He said: “Regardless, you’ve always got to work hard in training.

“It’s a testament that any of the clubs that I’ve been at, I’ve always been one of, if not the, last one off the training pitch. At Charlton just now, the manager and the coaches would have to scream at me to come off the pitch because I’m always trying to improve or work on something.

“The hard work has to be there no matter what.”

The 29-year-old made his Rovers debut off the bench in Tuesday’s defeat to Fleetwood Town. In the brief cameo in a difficult fixture, he showed flashes of the combative, quick-thinking striker that he can be.

In the second half of the season he is determined to find his groove once again, and rebuild the confidence which has taken a hit over the last few years.

“First and foremost, it’s about getting my confidence back as a player and that chip on my shoulder that I’ve always played with,” he said.

“I don’t want to worry about anything else on the pitch or the opposition and just focus on myself and my team.

“It’s about getting back to that and scoring as many goals as possible which will help the team push up the table.

“We’re in a great position, with games in hand. They don’t mean much, you have to win them.

“I just want to add to what the boys have been doing, because they’ve been on a great run.

“I just want to add to that now.”

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.