Super Eagles icon Okocha likened to Di Canio and Matt Le Tissier by Chelsea, Man City legends

Published: February 01, 2023
Super Eagles icon Okocha likened to Di Canio and Matt Le Tissier by Chelsea, Man City legends

Former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, has been likened to two of the greatest players in the history of the English Premier League in the persons of Paolo Di Canio and Matt Le Tissier by Chelsea legend Joe Cole and Manchester City icon Shaun Wright-Phillips.

West Ham hero Di Canio and Southampton legend Le Tissier were household names in the English top-flight about two decades ago around the same time that Okocha held sway while playing for Bolton Wanderers.


The three maestros are regarded as some of the best flair players ever seen in English and European club football and were individually assessed by the duo of Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips.


Cole turned out for West Ham United and Chelsea where he was a club favorite while Wright-Phillips also played for Chelsea as well as Manchester City.


Speaking on Premier League Productions' 'The Premier League Flair Players' that focused on the creative players  with amazing footworks in the Premier league, Cole, who himself was a flair player, said:


"He (Okocha) was a player that found his 'home' similar to Paolo Di Canio at West Ham. Big Sam (Allardyce) got hold of him. 


"Sam recognized that he had a lot of players with different attributes. Jay-Jay Okocha gave the team a little bit of flair and he was just like Le Tissier at Southampton.


"The players around him (Okocha) will work hard, hassle, run and win the ball and Jay-Jay will give it a little bit of artistry."


Continuing, Cole who was widely regarded as one of the best dribblers whilst at West Ham and Chelsea said:


"He was one of the players that brought showmanship to the Premier league. He was difficult to play against him.


"Nigeria is a huge football country and to be considered as the best in the country is a big deal, " Cole stressed.


Former Chelsea and Manchester City winger, Shaun Wright-Phillips who is now a television pundit with Sky Sports, just like his father, Ian Wright, an icon at Arsenal in his playing days, added:


"I think he came to the EPL at the perfect time for me. 


"Personally, if we had gotten him earlier, we wouldn't have the Jay-Jay we got to love and enjoy.


"And to be regarded as the greatest Nigerian player of all time, you have to understand that it shows how good he was. He was able to be in our memories these years. 


"He gave many people, many young players confidence. I watched him a lot when I was coming through the ranks; he gave a lot of people confidence," Wright-Phillips concluded. 


Okocha played a total of 124 Premier league games for Bolton Wanderers between 2002 and 2006 and scored 14 goals. 


Izuchukwu Okosi


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