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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Jay Jay Okocha on Sam Allardyce and playing in Europe

Jay Jay Okocha on Sam Allardyce and playing in Europe

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Former Wanderers star Jay Jay Okocha playing in Europe was “like winning a trophy”.

Okocha was part of the first Bolton team to compete in Europe after finish sixth in the Premier League under Sam Allardyce.

He is widely regarded as one of Africa’s greatest ever players but admits it took time to adjust Allardyce’s style.

"People celebrate their achievements in different ways,” he told talkSPORT. “People have got the opportunity to win trophies with big clubs, but when you are playing in a club like Bolton that had never played two seasons in the Premier League before I signed for them, playing in Europe - for me it’s like winning a trophy.

“I didn’t really do my research before going to Bolton but as a football person, football comes first - not the city, not the lifestyle that comes with the city. But one thing was clear, the training ground was different.

“The attitude towards the games were different and I think also the mentality and the football style was difficult. It really 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 he’s not really that kind of a long ball person, but it was all he had then. The players he had then can only play direct football with them because they haven’t got the ability to out-possess the likes of Arsenal or 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 the squad, we started playing a bit more possession football.”

"One thing he kept which was funny was in our own defence line, that got him crazy. He made it clear to us that whatever we are bringing into the team, our own ideas should be in the final third and not in our own half.”

Okocha will be in action at the UniBol on Sunday afternoon as a Bolton All Star XI takes on Ian Evatt’s current first team squad.

The match is taking place to raise funds for Gethin Jones’ mum, Karen, who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.

Tickets are available to purchase [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.

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