Erhun Oztumer was released by the Addicks at a very young age, which made him doubt whether he would ever make it as a professional footballer. Oztumer spoke to the Saddler’s Express and Star about the situation.
The Walsall talisman spent nine years at the Charlton academy over a decade ago when they were competing in the Premier League. However, when he turned 16, the Addicks did not offer him a scholarship.
Speaking to the Saddler’s Express and Star, the midfielder said: “I was at Charlton for nine years and didn’t get offered a scholarship.
“It was a long time ago and it’s not personal. It was a big disappointment at the time because all I knew was Charlton.
“Back then they were a Premier League side. They had a great academy and I had a lot of fun there.
“When you get released at that age you think ‘is it over for me?’
“You wonder if you will make it as a professional and you start to drop levels. That is what I did, I went to non-league. But I worked my way up and now I couldn’t be happier.”
One of the Charlton Academy’s major concerns was Oztumer’s height.
“Every day I get told I am too small,” the 25-year-old joked.
“I still need to stretch really high in the supermarket to get stuff.
“But on the football pitch it is an advantage for me. I have learnt to what to do and what not to do.
“And I have felt this year I have progressed a lot – playing in a new role.
“The gaffer has helped me a lot with that. Now I want to keep scoring, keep doing well and keep winning games.”