Ola John is hoping that his obsession with Arsenal when he was growing up will help him when he faces Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Friday night.
The Reading winger, 23, has two assists in three FA Cup appearances so far this season and will be hoping to add to that tally against Alan Pardew’s men.
Speaking to the press ahead of the game, he revealed how much the FA Cup impacted on him when he was growing up and how much he loved watching Arsenal.
“I grew up watching it,” John said. “I watched a lot of the FA Cup.
“I was an Arsenal fan – a big fan of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. My focus growing up was just Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal.
“So I know that in the cup anything is possible.”
John signed for Reading at the start of the season on loan. His parent club is Benfica, although he spent last season with Hamburger SV.
A Liberian national, his family fled the country when he was just two and settled in the Netherlands. John signed for DEX Nijverdal as an amateur when he was just 15. He was signed by FC Twente four years later and remained with the Enschedeër side for eight years.
He is under contract with the Portuguese side until 2017 and is the brother of Collins John, the former Fulham forward who played for the London club for five years, scoring 20 goals in 95 league appearances.
Recently, Reading’s boss, former Arsenal player Brian McDermott, admitted he was unsure where John’s future lay. McDermott said at the start of March “I don’t know the ins and outs of it.
“We’ll have to wait and see. But as a person he’s a great lad.
“He’s a super player, I thought that from day one.
“We’ve been trying to help him fulfil his potential. With players like Ola it will be a sin if he didn’t fulfil his potential because he’s a joy to watch.”
Arsenal fan or Alan Pardew? I know who my support is going to!