Midfielder in sparkling form...
Saddlers boss Jon Whitney has hailed the impact of playmaker Erhun Oztumer since his arrival from Peterborough in the summer.
The 25-year-old has been in sparkling form for Walsall this term and is the club’s top scorer, with seven goals in 16 appearances in all competitions.
Arguably his finest performance to date came against Swindon last weekend, when he scored a magnificent match-winning brace in a professional 2-0 victory.
Oztumer’s first goal – an audacious 40-yard lob – was chosen as League One’s goal of the weekend and the creative schemer was also named in the EFL Team of the Week.
And Whitney has heaped praise on his number 10 – not just for his goals but for his all-round performances and strong work ethic.
“He deserves all the praise he’s been getting,” said Whitney. “We brought him in for his assists mainly and then to get 10 goals. He’s above that expectation at the moment which is great for him.
“The first one [at Swindon] was great vision and great anticipation to get onto the pass, but the second one was sublime. He’s probably won goal of the season already for that one!
“It’s his work ethic that is key for me though. He works hard for the team off the ball and then he gets his reward with his goals.
“The goals are great - they’re the icing on the cake – and you take the two goals away and he was still an influential player in the game.
“But the main ingredients are his application and his work ethic for the team.”
Whitney also believes that Oztumer’s short stature makes it harder for opponents to contain him.
“When I played, I’d rather you give me a 6’2” strapping centre forward any day as they don’t go under the radar and you can keep an eye on them,” he added.
“It’s hard because if you stay off him, he runs at you, but then if you get tight and make contact he uses you to roll.
“That’s what makes a good player. He’s got a little bit of freedom as long as he then gets back in and works hard for the team.”