Ex-Hearts star Ozturk claims English League One better than Scots Prem

Alim Ozturk says the English third tier is a higher standard than Scotland's top-flight. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison
Alim Ozturk says the English third tier is a higher standard than Scotland's top-flight. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison
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Former Hearts centre-back Alim Ozturk has claimed that English League One is a higher standard than the Scottish Premiership.

• READ MORE: Hearts must look forward and shake off demoralising week

The 25-year-old is currently plying his trade in the third tier of English football with Sunderland having joined in the summer from Turkish side Boluspor.

“I was happy in Turkey and wanted to stay. But if a club like Sunderland comes, that is a different story,” he told Dutch website voetbalzone.nl. “At that moment the other options were actually gone, there was not a club that could match Sunderland.

“If you see the stadium here. Pfft, it’s unbelievable, we play at home for thirty thousand men. You notice everything that this is a club that does not belong in the League One. In terms of stadium, facilities, training accommodation, it is very well arranged.

“This is really a mega club, in the Netherlands this club just belongs to the top three.”

Ozturk left Hearts in January 2017 but believes the standard of the third tier in England is higher than that of the Scottish Premiership. However, he has started just three of Sunderland’s 17 league matches.

He said: “It was a bit of a change again, especially with football. It is a completely different level. In Turkey you had the time to play a ball around, but here you do not get that space and time.

“The level in the League One is higher than expected. The people said in advance that the level would be equal to the Premiership in Scotland, but I think this is a bit higher.

“You do not expect it, but there are very nice teams in between. Then I wonder where they would end up in the Eredivisie.”

The Dutch-born Turk played 74 times for Hearts between 2014 and 2017, netting seven times, most memorably the long-range strike to earn a draw at Easter Road on the way to the Championship title.

• READ MORE: Craig Levein confident Hearts squad is deep enough to end barren run

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