FC Twente coach Co Adriaanse is full of praise for Ola John, the 19-year-old forward who has set up twice as many goals – four – as any other player in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.
"He is strong and hardly ever injured," said the 64-year-old, who brought the teenager into the first team following the summer departure of Bryan Ruiz to Fulham FC – Twente's Group K visitors on Thursday – and an injury to Nacer Chadli. "Ola is never tired, always ready to go and happy every day. That makes him a very pleasant player to work with. Actually he is the ideal son-in-law."
John's creativity and excellent wing play have even helped him retain his starting place as a left-sided attacker since Chadli returned to fitness. Captain Peter Wisgerhof said of the prospect: "Ola is developing brilliantly.
He keeps two opponents busy in every match – he is already good enough that they double-mark him. That gives extra space to his team-mates."
John has yet to score in Group K but the four goals he has created have contributed towards propelling the Dutch side into the round of 32. Twente will seal top spot in the section with a win or a goalless draw against Fulham on matchday five.
Fulham fans may not know much about John but they certainly know his older brother Collins, who left Enschede for west London in January 2004 and went on to notch 20 goals in 95 Premier League games before moving on in 2009. Collins, Ola and another footballing brother, VfL Osnabrück striker Paddy, lost their father in the civil war in Liberia, yet settled successfully after landing in the Netherlands with their mother.
"Collins was the father figure in our family and, for financial reasons too, he grabbed the chance to play in the Premier League," said Dutch Under-21 international John. "He had a good spell in England. He was Fulham's top scorer one year and also got into the Dutch national team [making two senior appearances]."
A similar path to international success may beckon for the younger sibling, who, with three Eredivisie goals in 14 appearances this term, cuts a confident figure. "I am never nervous when I go on to the pitch, even if I know I am up against a physically strong opponent," he said. "Who have I got to fear? Defenders are more scared of attackers than the other way around.
"You cannot get intimidated by opponents," added John, who has been linked with several leading English sides. "They are all just people when you are up against them. Also,
when you are clever, you always get chances, even against a strong opponent."
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