Colchester exit talk improves me - Magnus Okuonghae

Magnus Okuanghae

Colchester United defender Magnus Okuonghae has said rumours linking him to other clubs have given him the confidence to improve his performances.

The 26-year-old, whose contract runs out in June, has made 35 appearances this season after his previous campaign was cut short by injury.

"There was a bit of interest in the summer," he told BBC Essex

"But it helps me to raise my game and to try and play at a higher level week in week out."

He added: "It's flattering, especially off the back of last season when I wasn't playing."

The Nigerian centre-half, who underwent ankle surgery in February of last year, says he has yet to open talks regarding a new deal at the U's.

"I'm concentrating on playing football and enjoying playing football," he explained.

"I haven't spoken to anyone at Colchester about anything, so I'll just keep playing.

"I've loved every minute of playing here. I was disappointed to get injured last year but I've played a lot of games and enjoyed every single one of them."

Okuonghae has struck up an impressive central defensive partnership with 20-year-old Tom Eastman, a summer signing from Ipswich Town.

The duo have started Colchester's last 12 games together and have conceded just two goals in their last six outings.

"We're enjoying playing together," said Okuonghae. "I talk to him and he talks to me. I think he's maturing and we're maturing as a partnership.

"I think we compliment each other and it's clear to see that in recent games. Tom's a good lad, he really listens. At the minute we're working very well together."

Boss John Ward added: "They're a good partnership. They're relatively young central defenders and they really work well together and enjoy restricting opponents."