The Hammers’ official Twitter account uploaded a clip of the 31-year-old centre-back stretching in pre-season training and turning to the camera to say “Man’s not hot”, “Man’s never hot.”
Rice was so amused by this clip of Ogbonna in training that he tweeted “what a guy” alongside several laughing emojis.
While Ogbonna’s clip of him enjoying pre-season training, as he was clearly messing around with the social media team, is enough to suggest morale is high; Rice’s response is further proof that the rapport between players is strong. This is a positive as a happy close-knit team are more likely to stick together once the season gets underway and deliver the results expected of them. As for Ogbonna in particular, it will be interesting to see how often he features in the upcoming campaign. The 31-year-old featured 29 times across all competitions in his 2018/19 campaign, scoring three goals in the process, and had a stint in the middle of the season where he seemed to establish himself as one of Pellegrini’s first-choice centre-backs. However, Ogbonna spent the last two league games of the season as an unused substitute. The 31-year-old is more than capable of being Pellegrini’s first-choice, even with Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop to compete with, as he did impress at times in his latest campaign. Ogbonna won 42% of his tackles, made 35 interceptions and made a staggering 99 clearances in his league outings last season (Source: Premier League).