by Nick Lough
HE WAS told by Charlton he was too small, but Peterborough United midfielder Erhun Oztumer believes he can use his size to his advantage after some eye-catching performances in League One.
Released from the South London side at the age of 16, due to his lack of height, Oztumer was rejected by a number of other clubs after doctors doubted he would grow taller than 5ft 3in.
“I think, because of my size, I have to be better in different areas of my game. I have to be sharper, intelligent and quick-minded, so I can get away from the big defenders. I feel my vision is really good. That’s why I’ve had so many assists this year and why I’m a little bit different to everyone else.”
After moving to Turkey to assist his push for professional football, the 24-year-old soon became homesick and returned to play for Ryman League Dulwich Hamlet.
“I had known Gavin Rose, the Dulwich manager, for a few years, so he asked me to come to training and see how it went.
“My aim was always to work my way up. I’ve always believed in my ability and the manager knew I had it as well. He helped me in so many ways, on and off the pitch.”
After notching more than 60 goals in two seasons, Oztumer signed for Posh in June 2014.
He took some time to adapt to League One, but the midfielder has really come into his own this season, playing a pivotal part in the side’s promotion push.
“I knew about the philosophy of the club and the way they had produced players from Non-League backgrounds. You have the likes of Dwight Gayle and Aaron McLean, so I think it was the right move for me,” he said. “Now the new gaffer (Graham Westley) has taken over, he has given me the chance and I’ve just kept the shirt. I’m really happy.
“I was upset to get a red card the other week as I knew it was a silly challenge but you learn from these mistakes. I had to sit on the sidelines for three games. After that, I scored in three games in a row. The time away benefited me and the team.”
A flashy player with incredible technique, Oztumer believes he is just one of many gems Peterborough have – and he’s confident the team can reach their goal of promotion. It doesn’t seem a tall order.