Walsall star Erhun Oztumer is delighted to have earned the respect of his team-mates and rivals after being named in the PFA League One Team of the Year.
The 25-year-old Turkish playmaker – who joined the Saddlers from Peterborough United last summer – has been recognised for his many top-drawer performances this season, which have brought 14 goals.
Stunners at Swindon Town and Bolton Wanderers earned him goal-of-the-month awards for October and February respectively, and on being classed as one of the best players in the division, he said: “I really appreciate it.
“I have worked hard to try and be the best I can be – and I am in the team of the year. It’s your team-mates and rivals. It’s a great feeling that players all over the country have picked you.
“At the beginning of the season I said I wanted double figures in goals
“There’s been some good ones – most of them have been quite good.
“I need to give credit to the gaffer for telling me to play more offensive and stay higher.
“It’s paid off, really. The staff and the players have all been great as well, I’m really happy.”
Oztumer insists the inclusion is the best individual award he has had in his career. Now his sights are on adding to his individual achievements by winning trophies with Walsall and he said: “I would have liked to have held the League One trophy but personally, it’s a great award.
“It’s one of those you want to experience and then next year, win something new. Hopefully next year we can win things as a club.”
“I wanted to join Walsall – that was the only League One club I wanted to join because of the way we play.
“I think it has been a good season for me and the team. I think mid-table is a good start for us, hopefully next season we will push on.”
Oztumer is likely to be on the bench as Walsall head to Coventry City tomorrow as he is still recovering from an ankle knock.
On his condition, he added: ““I had a high ankle injury, which they normally say is five weeks out – and I returned in four weeks so I was a bit unfit on Monday.
“The gaffer gave me about 15 minutes and I couldn’t walk after but it’s healing well. I’m still feeling a bit of pain but that’s going to be there for a few weeks.”Subscribe to our Newsletter