Former Super Eagles striker John Utaka has heaped praise on Oliver Giroud whom he shared the dressing room with in Montpellier between 2011/2012 season. Describing him as a natural goal poacher and a team player.
Speaking in an exclusive virtual interview with Babatunde Ojora of Ojbsports from his base in Montpelier on Tuesday, the 38-year-old former Ligue 1 winner with Montpellier in 2012/2013 season, said he will always cherish his partnership with the Les Bleus striker.
“Giroud is a great player, he’s a point man as you know, he helped us a lot in that season because we had some tough games that he really settled the scores easily.
Sometimes in football, you play some games that everywhere is closed and you can’t find a way at all, that’s when most of the great players deliver. He is a goal scorer, and in such situation he showed up.”
The Enugu born striker scored 18 goals for Montpellier in the same season Olivier Giroud won the Golden boot award, despite being tied on goals with Paris Saint-Germain attacker Nene. Giroud scored 33 goals in 73 appearances.
Speaking further, the former Super Eagles forward revealed that Giroud brings a lot more than just goals to the table. And he’s likeness for the lanky forward. He said Giroud’s work rate off the ball and team play has made him an indispensable member of the French National team.
“When he gets the ball he waits for the wingers and the midfielders to come into play. He’s very good at linking up and I am not surprised with what he’s doing in Chelsea, and even at Arsenal. He brings a lot of balance to the French National team. I like his style of play because that’s the kind of football I also play”
Added Utaka, who has now been named Montpellier’s youth trainer.
John Utaka’s personal achievement of scoring 58 goals in 233 appearances for three different first tier clubs in the Ligue 1, Lens 2002 to 2005, Rennes 2005 to 2007, and Montpellier 2011 to 2013 is a remarkable feat that still linger.
When asked about his understanding of the French Language, John Utaka was quick to respond with smiles.
“I understand the language and that is also an addition because I will need it to pass out tactical informations to the players. It’s a good thing when you speak more than one international language. My French is good”. He concluded.