OL­LIE’S GOT THE PEDIGREE TO SUC­CEED

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

HIS dad was a leg­end at New­cas­tle and Charl­ton, scor­ing goals ga­lore and win­ning 21 caps for Eng­land.

But Birm­ing­ham mid­fielder Ol­lie Lee in­sists he isn’t wor­ried about com­par­isons with fa­ther Rob.

“I sup­pose you could see it as a dis­ad­van­tage, but I don’t,” said the 22-year-old. “Dad’s some­one to bounce ideas off, to di­rect me al­most.

“He comes to most of my games and he’s al­ways hon­est about whether I played well or not. It’s good, be­cause not ev­ery­body gets that kind of feed­back from some­one who’s played at the high­est level.

“And then there’s the people he played with. Alan Shearer, Shay Given, War­ren Bar­ton – they’d all be round for fam­ily par­ties and things. As a kid, you just thought that was nor­mal but look­ing back it was ob­vi­ously bril­liant. I’ve now got all the people dad’s known in his ca­reer to turn to for ad­vice.”

Lee came through the ranks at West Ham but, af­ter loan spells at Gilling­ham and Da­gen­ham, was re­leased in 2012 with­out mak­ing a se­nior ap­pear­ance. He sub­se­quently joined Bar­net – a move he now re­grets.

“In hind­sight, it was prob­a­bly a mis­take,” he ad­mits. “I should have gone on trial over the sum­mer and maybe found a club that suited me bet­ter. But Bar­net was on the ta­ble and I jumped at it.

Downhill

“I was signed by Mark Rob­son, but then Edgar Davids came in and it was all downhill re­ally.

“Edgar was very – how can I put it – he liked the sound of his own voice. Ev­ery­thing was ‘What I say goes’. You couldn’t an­swer back and you couldn’t have an opin­ion on any­thing. If he said it, that was the right an­swer.

“He’s done a lot in his ca­reer and he’s worked with some great people. So in his mind I imag­ine he thought ‘Why should I lis­ten to League Two play­ers?’

“But my plan was al­ways to go to Bar­net and find my way into the Cham­pi­onship af­ter six months or a year. I did it the un­con­ven­tional way, but I did it.”

Of­fered a trial by Blues boss Lee Clark – a for­mer Toon team-mate of Rob – in Fe­bru­ary 2013, Lee did enough to win a per­ma­nent deal and is now a fix­ture in the side.

“I’ve re­ally, re­ally en­joyed it here,” he said. “I al­ways be­lieved I could play at this level, it was just about get­ting an op­por­tu­nity.

“Cham­pi­onship foot­ball suits my style of play far bet­ter than League Two. That’s not meant to sound ar­ro­gant, but I like to keep pos­ses­sion, use the ball.

“I’m prob­a­bly more of a passer than my dad, more deep ly­ing. I def­i­nitely don’t score as a many goals as he used to, but it’s some­thing I’m try­ing to im­prove. I got my first in the Cham­pi­onship last week so I’m hop­ing to go on a lit­tle run now.”

DAD: Rob Lee BIG CHANCE: Ol­lie Lee on the ball for Birm­ing­ham

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