Dutch club Willem II Tilburg’s Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche has revealed how his ex-teammates, former FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho and Austin Jay Jay Okocha, helped his development at the start of his career Completesportsnigeria.om reports.
Ogbeche joined Willem II in 2016 but the start of his career at the club was hampered due to two severe injuries he sustained.
But the former Nigerian international bounced back in style this season, firing eight goals in his first eight games in the Dutch Eredivisie to stun his doubters who wrote him off after his earlier setbacks.
The former Paris Saint Germain and Middlesbrough striker recounted his time at Parc des Princes, recounting how he came through the club ranks as a teenage star during a time when some of the club’s most successful players were at their peak.
Ogbeche starred alongside Okocha, Ronaldinho, Mauricio Pochettino, Stephane Dalmat, Ali Bernabia and Nicolas Anelka amongst others.
“As a young player, I looked carefully at those men. What do they all do to stay that good, or even better?” Ogbeche told Voetbal International.
“The likes of Okocha, Ronaldinho, Pochettino and Anelka played at Paris Saint-Germain at that time and were always one hour early to training despite having a family with wife and children at home.
“Can a youngster without a family arrive half an hour before the training … That is not possible, is it? That is crazy.
“Sometimes Okocha picked me up for training, as well as Ronnie, they were big brothers to me, even more so than teammates, because I rode with them most times.
“I was always early at the club, so you automatically join in. Stretch, stretch, stability exercises, core training.
“After a while, no one had to tell me what to do. It’s in my system.
“Just like how they doubted me when I returned with Willem II. But I do not have to worry about the opinion of people who until a few weeks ago did not even know that I was still a football player.
“I am self motivated to play and I don’t need to prove anybody wrong.”
Ogbeche, now 33, was a surprise inclusion in the Super Eagles squad to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan.