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Sports News of Sunday, 14 November 2021

Source: punchng.com

Okocha relishes playing under Allardyce

Austin Okocha Austin Okocha

Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, has reflected on his spell as a Bolton Wanderers player under Sam Allardyce’s management.

Okocha, who left Paris Saint Germaine for the English club in 2002, played the entirety of his Bolton career under Allardyce, achieving huge success at the formerly-named Reebok Stadium.

The Nigerian international made 124 appearances for Bolton 124, more than any side in his career, in 2004/05 he helped take the Wanderers from just outside of the relegation zone to qualifying for the UEFA Cup for the first time.

In an interview with talkSPORT, the club icon talked about what it was like playing for Allardyce.

He said, “It took me a while to really understand what Sam’s philosophy was, but once I understood it, it was a bit easier then.

“After a while, I realised that it’s not really that kind of long ball person, but it was all he had then, the players that he had then he can only play direct football with them because they haven’t got the ability to out-possess the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea or Man United, so he was playing to his strengths.

“But then when we came in and when he started bringing players with better quality in his squad, we started playing a bit more possession football.

“One thing he kept to was ‘fannying’ about in our own defensive line.

“That gets him crazy so he made it clear to us that whatever we’re bringing to the team, our own ideas should be in the final third and not in our own half.

“He’s a big lad so you have to respect his opinion, you have to respect that, but it’s always good to know what the managers want from you.”

Okocha also talked about swapping the PSG for Bolton.

He said, “I will say that it’s obvious that I didn’t really do my research before signing for Bolton.

“As a football person, football comes first, not the city, not the lifestyle, but one thing that’s clear is that the training ground was different, the attitude towards the games was different.”