Barnet youngsters can benefit from ex-Everton star’s experience
10:47 10 September 2012
John Oster is relishing his role as Underhill’s elder statesman as he attempts to help lift Barnet from the foot of the Football League.
The former Wales international midfielder joined the Bees last week after his release from Doncaster Rovers and made his debut as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Gillingham.
It was the first time the 33-year-old – who numbers Everton, Sunderland, Reading and Crystal Palace among his previous clubs, had featured in a fixture below Championship level.
“It’s been a frustrating summer – I’ve only really had a couple of days’ training and this was the first time I’d participated in a game, so it was obviously good to get out there,” said Oster, who has signed a one-year deal.
“I’ve been brought in to help with the young lads, because we’ve got such a young squad, and maybe offer them advice as an on-field coach, so to speak.
“If I can give my experience to the younger lads, I’ll help them in any way I can. I’ve played a lot of games for someone of my age and, as long as I’m fit enough to play, I’ll continue playing.”
Oster, who departed Doncaster following the Yorkshire club’s relegation to League One, revealed that his agent Mel Stein – who is Barnet’s legal adviser – played a key role in persuading him to move to north London.
“I had a couple of clubs interested and turned one down earlier in the summer, but I decided to come here and my agent was quite a big sway on that one, being quite close to the club,” added the midfielder.
“He sold it to me really – meals round at his house and all that! At the moment things aren’t looking good, so we need to get some points on the board.
“There’s a lot of new young players and a new manager who’s trying to get his ideas across but, with the problems they had in pre-season, trying to get friendlies, it’s hard.
“The pitch was really sticky on Saturday – it was hard to get the passing game going. If it stays like that it’ll be difficult, but it won’t be 30-degree heat all the time and we’ll probably appreciate a bit of rain.”