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James Abankwah: Udinese defender insists on playing for Ireland ahead of Ghana

Published on: 25 May 2022

Udinese defender James Abankwah has chosen to play for the Republic of Ireland over his parents' homeland of Ghana.

Should Ghana seek his international services before Ireland, the youngster says he will not turn his back.

He is adamant about achieving his dream of playing senior football for the Republic of Ireland.

Asked if he ever had an offer to declare for Ghana, the 18-year-old insisted: "It has always been Ireland for me. I never had anyone from Ghana contact me."

On January 25, 2022, it was announced that Abankwah had signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Serie A club Udinese.

Abankwah revealed that he was taking Italian lessons twice a week before joining the team in the summer of 2022.

Abankwah, who was born in Waterford, revealed that he has yet to meet Republic of Ireland U21 international Festy Ebosele, who has also signed for Udinese.

"I know of him (Ebosele) but I haven’t spoken to him yet. Having another Irish lad there will be great and communication-wise, it will make it a lot easier."

Abankwah, who has spoken about how he was abused by the parents of an opposing player when playing for Melview FC in Longford, is optimistic there can be greater unity in sport and society.

"Black or white, we still bleed the same. I don’t see why there should be a need to throw racist slurs about," he said.

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