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Reds boss understands why Collins John wants to relaunch his English career
Globetrotting John Gregory knows there is nothing quite like league football in England.
Which is why he is not surprised to see nomadic striker Collins John end up on his doorstep.
The Dutch international best known for his time at Fulham, and recently released by Pittsburgh Riverhounds, is on trial with Reds.
John, still only 28, is likely to face his old club in friendly action at the Checkatrade.com Stadium on Saturday.
Born in Liberia, he started his career at Twente Enschede, scored 20 league goals for Fulham and then set off on a whirlwind few years which saw him play in Belgium, the USA, Azerbaijan, Iran, Cyprus and Poland as well as time back in Holland and two games for Barnet.
He enjoyed a first chance for Crawley in the 10-0 friendly win at County League neighbours Oakwood on Tuesday.
Although John did not score, Gregory saw enough of him that night and in training to offer more chance to shine.
The Reds boss, who himself has worked in Israel and Kazakhstan and travelled extensively, said: “We know CJ just from his history.
“He played in the Premier League many times.
“He has been playing in the States and I don’t think it is what he wants. He wants to come back here and have another go at it.
“I’ve been around the world and the pyramid system we have here in England is unsurpassed in any other country.
“The Football League and how well it is attended, the passion that English football fans have, is different.
“It is certainly a lot different to in the States and I think he has missed that.
“I think he has missed the buzz of what English football is all about.
“He has still got a home here and wants to get back to London and we are not very far away for him. Hopefully we can have a good look at him.”
Although John did not particularly catch the eye on Tuesday, he was quite tidy and Gregory is intrigued by what he could provide over a long and tough League One campaign.
He added: “CJ has obviously got to work on the fitness side of things.
“But, if he is with us for another four or five weeks, fitness levels are something we can work with.
“What you can’t give to a trialist is that much experience.
“He has already got that. He knows what it’s about.
“He knows what it’s like on the pitch and how to go about his job. He knows his way around the penalty box.
“It’s those things that really attract me to him.
“Fitness wise we can work at him and get him up to speed.
“That won’t be a problem for us providing he wants to meet us halfway.”
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