After failing to pin a regular shirt at Stamford Bridge, Nigerian international, Ola Aina was last season loaned to Championship side, Hull City. With another loan spell to Torino, the defender seems to have finally found a home outside of the Bridge with regular playing time with his new Serie A club
Ola Aina was one of the key performers for his club as he was on for full 90 minutes in Torino’s 0-0 away draw against AC Milan in their Serie A clash at the Giuseppe Meaza Stadium, Milan on Sunday and thanked the club’s fans for their unflinching support.
“Another point for the team. Thank you to our fans for bringing the energy as usual,” Aina tweeted on his Twitter handle.
Aina, who is on loan at Torino from English Premier League club, Chelsea, has made 13 Serie A league appearances for the Turin – based club this season but is yet to find the back of the net.
The Torino defender is however delighted with his new environment and the opportunity to hone his skills in Italy after he joined Walter Mazzarri’s men temporarily for the 2018-19 campaign after extending his contract with Chelsea to 2021 last month.
After spending the majority of his career in England which included a season-long spell with Hull City last term, the 21-year-old highlighted differences between the two countries.
“I really like Turin. It’s not as big as London, but it’s a bit more relaxed and relaxing, a bit like me. In England, we train a lot in the morning, here it’s more the afternoon. I’m getting used to it though. Everyone is adapting to me, and obviously vice-versa. My teammates have made me feel good from the beginning, I thank them because it made it much easier for me to settle in,” Aina was quoted as saying by Football Italia.
“Serie A is very different from the Premier League, the football in England is more physical and fast.
It’s slower here and there’s more time to think, but you need a very different, more intense, attention to tactics.
That’s good for me because that’s exactly what I need to improve.
“I chose Torino because of the coach Walter Mazzarri, I talked to him and I got the feeling he wanted me and wanted to help me grow. I also felt he wanted me to work for him, that I could be important for his cause.
Then, of course, Torino have a great history and the Italian league is one of the best, so I couldn’t say no.”
The 21-year-old believes he has started brightly this season and looks to continue to make a good impression on the first team.
He said: “I have started very well this season, thanks also to my teammates and to the coach, when there are challenges I always face them openly because I believe in my potential.”
He went on to praise Mazzari’s tactics and team set up, emphasising how he likes to be given the freedom to attack as well as defend.
Aina joined Torino on loan from Chelsea and has suddenly become a vital part of the team.
Aina while speaking in an interview with Forza Italian Football said he has set a target to learn the language by December.
“I’ve been enjoying it so far. I’m enjoying training and the games, and all the challenges as there are some top sides here. I’m settling in just fine. My Italian was good but it’s dipped a little. I’m back on the lessons though and have given myself the target of Christmas to have a full conversation.”
“The difference is a lot,” Ola Aina said. “The level is a lot higher, the concentration and tactical side of things are a lot higher than the Championship. For me, that is what is key for me this season. Right now, the squad are just focusing on each other, and to take each match as it comes. We want to play good football and get as many points as possible and win games. So if we can focus on this, then who knows.”
Normally placed on the right side, Aina has been operating on the left, though he admitted it makes no difference where he plays.
“Both right and left are the same,” Aina continued, “the only difference is you have to use your other foot. Simple really.”
He was born in the London and was raised by two Nigerian parents, he was also one step away from participating in the last World Cup in Russia: he was in fact included in the preliminary list, but was not chosen in the final 23.
A few years ago, when Josè Mourinho was still the manager of the Blues, he spoke highly of the player and his efforts. Aina won a number of titles with the youth team at Chelsea which forced the Special One to say “He has great potential and I believe that he will represent the future of the club.”
After Mourinho left, Aina was mentored by Conte and with the Italian Aina played in the 3-4-3 and on 3-5-2 systems and knowing Mazzarri, a young player that knows how to play in a system with three defenders is ideal.
Aina said, “I only arrived in August, but I immediately got along well with my new teammates, I tied up with Meite, Ferigra, Edera, but also with many others.
“I feel at home and for this I thank them. I started this season very well thanks to my teammates and to the coach. When there are challenges I always face them openly because I believe a lot in my potential.
“Chelsea allowed me to be here because they know that this is an excellent championship and an opportunity to improve even tactically, I chose Torino because I talked to the coach and he immediately made me feel important for this team, and then because this club has an important history.”