A few titbits about our new wingerWe welcomed Ola John to Madejski Stadium on transfer deadline day, as he completed a loan move from Benfica. Here are five little bits of information to help you get to know our new man better…
1. He is a Europa League runner-up
Benfica, twice winners of the European Cup, nearly earned the third major European trophy of their history when they reached the Europa League final in 2012/13. Like fellow finalists Chelsea, the Portuguese side had been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, but overcame Bayer Leverkusen, Bordeaux, Newcastle and Fenerbahce to set up a date with the Blues. John was once of two Dutchman involved on the evening at the Netherlands’ national stadium, Amsterdam ArenA – the other being Nathan Ake, who was amongst the subs for Chelsea. Fernando Torres had Chelsea ahead but two minutes after John was substituted on, Benfica pegged back from the penalty spot through Oscar Cardozo. However Branislav Ivanovic scored deep into injury time to win it for the London club.
2. He has been capped at full international level for Netherlands
After coming through the Academy at FC Twente, where he won the Dutch Cup, the attacker played plenty of times for the Dutch youth international teams. He was called up for the senior squad’s 36-man preliminary list ahead of Euro 2012, having previously been involved the Netherlands’ matchday squad in their 3-2 win at Wembley against England earlier in the year. He didn’t make the final cut for the summer tournament, but made his international debut alongside the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie by playing for an hour against Italy at Amsterdam ArenA.
3. He netted the winner in the Taça da Liga this summer
John’s final involvement last season for Benfica also came from the bench in a cup final – this time it was in the Taça da Liga, the Portuguese League Cup. A relatively new competition, the 2015 edition was just the eighth time that the tournament had been held – and remarkably the sixth time that Benfica had won it. Vitória de Setúbal, the winners of the first instalment in 2008, were defeated 3-0 by Benfica in this year’s semi-final, and Maritimo were the beaten finalists. John was introduced in the 73rd minute with the scores deadlocked at one apiece, and smashed home a winner from a tight angle with ten minutes remaining.
4. He spent ten years at FC Twente
John first joined FC Twente back in 2002 as a 10-year-old, and came through the ranks at the Enschede-based clubs. His breakthrough season in the first team came in 2010, after Steve McClaren left the title-winning side. He went on to play 69 games and score 10 goals for the Dutch club – including a few months under McClaren when he returned in 2012 – and his form earned him his move to Portugal to join Benfica.
5. His is the brother of Collins John
The Dutch winger is the younger brother of former Fulham striker Collins John, who made his name in English football at Craven Cottage by scoring 20 goals in league 95 appearances for the London club. Collins also had spells with Watford and Leicester City as recently as the 2012/13 season. The striker has played for clubs all over the globe including in the United States, Azerbaijan and even a season in Iran.
Watch a full interview with our new signing Ola John below on Reading FC PlayerHD - subscribers willl find loads of exclusive interviews, extended match footage and have access to live audio matchday commentary.