New England coach, Sam Allardyce, has picked former Super Eagles skipper Austin Jay Jay Okocha as his best captain ever in his managerial career.
Allardyce who is preparing for his first match as England manager when England take on Slovakia on Sunday had players like Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Stuart Pearce and Lee Catamole lead his team on the pitch but reckons that none had the calming influence of Okocha in the dressing room.
He told Mirror Football that the Nigerian legend always led by example and was very multi-lingual; a trait he seeks to find in the Three Lions squad.
"On and off the field Jay Jay Okocha was the captain you looked for," Allardyce responded when asked to name his best-ever captain.
Allardyce signed Okocha on a free after his contract ended at Paris Saint-Germain. And in his second season at the club he was handed the captain's arm band following Guoni Bergsson’s retirement.
"In a multi-national side from all over the world he could speak four different languages, communicate very well with some of the players who couldn’t speak quite as good English.
"He sorted the odd scuffle out in the dressing room, talked to the players about how we had to go out and win. He’d take the manager’s instructions and apply them in the right way.
"Then there was outstanding ability on the field, leading by example and showing everybody he wasn’t a mercenary which was suggested in the beginning, that he’d only come for the money. He became an iconic figure at Bolton Wanderers.”
As captain, Okocha led Bolton to their first cup final in nine years, as they finished runners-up to Middlesbrough FC in the 2004 Football League Cup.
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