West Ham United assistant manager Alan Irvine has offered a hugely positive update on Angelo Ogbonna.

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The brilliant Italian centre back has been out for two months since injuring his ankle at Manchester United in early February.

West Ham have coped well without the defender.

But his presence and leadership are needed more than ever after the injury to matchday captain Declan Rice.

Manchester United v West Ham United: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Photo by Simon Stacpoole Offside via Getty Images

Hammers need leader Ogbonna for exciting run-in, especially after Rice injury

Particularly as fourth-placed West Ham push for a European spot in the final eight games of the season.

There have been conflicting reports over Ogbonna’s return from injury of late.

The Athletic claimed Ogbonna would resume full training this week ahead of the huge European six-pointer against Leicester.

That looked to be the case when West Ham live streamed a virtual open training session from Rush Green on Wednesday.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

West Ham assistant boss Irvine delivers hugely encouraging update on Ogbonna return

Given the late kick off for the Wolves win on Monday night and 3am return home, a large number of first team players were not involved in the training session.

Training was kept quite light and as a result it was hard to tell what stage Ogbonna is at.

But David Moyes’s trusted assistant Irvine provided a hugely encouraging update on Ogbonna (West Ham YouTube).

“Yes (it’s fantastic to see Ogbonna training), he’s getting very close and it’ll be great to get him back again,” Irvine told West Ham YouTube’s channel.

Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS AFP via Getty Images

‘Ogbonna is very close… he’ll have a big part to play’

“Obviously he’s a big part of the team, big part of the squad.

“And he will have a part to play between now and the end of the season.”

After Irvine’s comments and the footage from the training session, it would not be a surprise to see Ogbonna back in the West Ham squad for the Leicester game.

Ogbonna turns 33 next month. But he has been so good that The Athletic claim West Ham are keen to extend his current contract.

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