Maro Itoje, 21, is a man of many talents. He plays rugby, writes poems, discusses politics, knows about the economic hardship of Nigeria though he wasn’t born here and is also a devout christian. Now, he’s on his way to leading England’s Rugby Team after receiving his England national squad call-up in January.
He’s in the starting line-up of six-nations team to play Ireland today.
Maro’s physique marked him out as a born-rugby player while studying at St George’s, a boarding school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. He also represented youth national teams in shot-put and basketball. Shortly afterwards, a bursary of £36,000-a-year to Harrow was awarded him at the age of 16 though he had close to zero experience.
At 6ft 5in, 18st 4lb, this ‘champion’ is his father’s role model. He was born in Camden, North London, after his parents Efe and Florence moved to Britain after marrying in Nigeria. Itoje Jr is also a cousin to popular Nigerian presenter Eku Dedewor.
Maro’s other interests include classical singing, the opera, visiting art galleries and debating foreign policy. How many 21-year-old’s are interested in politics?
The star’s love for Rugby saw him study harder than usual as his dad had previously warned that he could kiss the game goodbye if he flunked his grades. The youngster kept his cool, stayed off parties, joined the choir in high school; and wrote poems, while his friends were practicing on the pitch.
Itoje Jr used every time not spent playing Rugby or any other hobbies, reading.
He utilized his bursary and time at Harrow, where he graduated with A grades in A-level economics, statistics and politics. A feat many have seen to be better than children of the ruling English family. He is an avid poet, having taken up writing while on a long-distance rugby trip.
His father, Efe Itoje advised Maro sternly on the need to work extra-hard for opportunities because he belonged to an ‘ethnic minority’.
Rather than being rebellious, Itoje Jr heeded his father’s words and today, he’s on top of the world. Playing on the same pitch as past legends in the game.
Ijoje Snr said:
“I made it quite clear from a very early stage that if his grades dropped, the rugby stopped. I told him he needed to make a decision. If he wanted to play rugby then fine, but if his grades dropped I’d declare war on him. He was always a very focused young man.
He didn’t want to go partying like other teenagers. He was quite unusual in that respect. We instilled the need to be the best he can be and he’s certainly delivered on that front. He’s kept his promise. I’m so proud of him. He’s been blessed with natural talent and he’s a role model as well. The way he conducts himself is very important. He’s my role model now”.
Imbibing his father’s words, Maro said: “For my family, education is highly important and as a result they ensured that my studies never diminished due to my sporting commitments. Not just me, but I think 99 per cent of kids would rather play football or rugby than do their homework. As I grew up I realized the importance of it”.
Young Itoje was included for the first time in the starting line-up of the Six Nations team that will play Ireland, Friday. A move that has seen him being hailed as the future captain of England’s squad.
He previously captained his club side, Saracens in the Aviva Premiership. He also captained England’s under-20 side during their victory at the Junior World Championship in 2014.
At 21, Maro Itoje has a impressive resume already. According to a commenter,
“This kid already had a more impressive resume than Prince William and Prince Harry. His grades are better, his more athletic, more accomplished, more devout (important for the future defender of the Anglican faith), and more artistic. For all their advantages, the royals are less than mediocre”.
What do you think?