New England manager Sam Allardyce has named former Nigeria Number 10 Jay-Jay Okocha as the best captain he ever had, ahead of his first game in charge of the Three Lions.
After naming his first England squad, Allardyce confirmed that Wayne Rooney will continue in his role as the country’s captain, but had no hesitation in naming the ex-Bolton Wanderers playmaker when asked who had been his best ever captain at club level.
Jay-Jay Okocha. On and off the field he was the captain you looked for.
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.
Known for employing a rather agricultural style of play, Allardyce raised eyebrows in 2002 when signing Nigerian magician Okocha from PSG. Okocha went from home crowd to Premier League favourite in a short space of time, lighting up a variety of stadiums with his invention, trickery and finesse.
Back with England, and Allardyce also confirmed his intention to use Wayne Rooney in the No10 role behind a striker, and not as a midfielder, as predecessor Roy Hodgson persisted with. Whether that specific role suits Rooney – or his team – is a debate that has been discussed for years.