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I have tried severally to do Okocha’s rainbow flicks without success — Alan Shearer.

By Henry Okoduwa

English football legend, Alan Shearer, alongside Thierry Henry made history early in the week for being the first inductees into the newly formed Premier League Hall of Fame.

On the the strength of being the record holder in the number of goals scored in his entire career in the league, the former England forward had been recognised and feted recently.

Shearer scored an amazing 260 goals playing for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United in almost a 20-year career. So, he can be said to be an authority when it comes to making statements about other players.

Shearer who now works as a pundit with the BBC had been asked to rate 10 players according to what impact he felt they had on the English game as part of the station’s Match Of The Day podcast over the weekend.

Among the players so named was Nigeria’s own Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha who he picked as number 6 behind such players as Paulo di Canio (5), Ole Gunnar Solkjaer (4), Paul Gascoigne (3), Matt Le Tissier (2) and Eric Cantona (1).

He had earlier picked Okocha ahead of Mario Balotelli (7), Chris Waddle (8), David Ginola (9) and Faustino Asprilla (10).

The purpose was to rate them according to their cult hero status for the clubs in which they starred in the English Premier League.

When it got to the time to make a short comment on Okocha’s time in England, he praised the Nigerian for his natural endowments, how he weaved his magic on the ball, and made playing the game look easy.

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Shearer told an amused panel of analysts on the show how he tried to copy some of Okocha’s moves, particularly the flicking-over-the-head style (otherwise known as the rainbow flicks), the Nigerian midfield maestro always used to cast a spell on his opponents.

“He made the difficult things look easy — I must have tried that flicking over the head a million times and it’s never come off once.

“Gifted, natural ability, superb player,” he showered encomiums on the former Super Eagles’ captain.

Okocha had worked his way to being a cult hero and fans’ favourite with Bolton Wanderers after he joined them from French team, Paris St Germain in the summer of 2002.

He had scored 7 vital goals in his first season before almost single-handedly leading themt tothe League Cup final in 2004.

He had eventually captained the team as his influence at the club grew. Trotters fans so loved him that they composed a special song to egg him on during matches. “So good they named him twice”, they often chanted.

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