Reading: Ola John motivated by migrant upbringing

Reading: Ola John identifies with Europe's migrant crisis

Reading forward Ola John says he can identify with the current refugee crisis across Europe having fled from civil war in Liberia with his family as a child.

John and his brothers, former Fulham striker Collins and Paddy, along with their mother, arrived in the Netherlands following the African state's first conflict in the early 1990s.

Their father was killed in the fighting and John, then aged two, was faced with an uncertain life in a new country and a new continent.

"I didn't know much about what was happening at the time," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"My father's death served as a motivation. We came to Europe with nothing and we knew we had to work hard.

"My mum was alone and every time my brothers saw her, we knew we had to work for her. It was even more difficult without a father as we had to be men quite young."

Ola John playing for Benfica
Ola John played for Hamburg and FC Twente before joining Benfica in 2012

Football was instrumental in giving the brothers a purpose in their new lives.

All three graduated from FC Twente's academy before oldest sibling Collins, 29, became the first to make it as a professional.

The striker played for five years in the Premier League for Fulham, while Paddy, 25, is currently without a club.

Ola John says the current European crisis involving refugees from Syria and Iraq strikes a chord with him.

"It's hard to see the pictures on television in the news at the moment," the 23-year-old added.

"But I also think about where I am now and it motivates me. I think I have to be happy with God for what he has given me."

The Dutch international, on loan to the Royals from Benfica after arriving on transfer deadline day, is looking to build on an impressive first start against Everton in the League Cup on Tuesday.

His surging run and cross set up Nick Blackman's goal on the night and now John hopes to give manager Steve Clarke a selection dilemma ahead of a trip Burnley on Saturday.

"It's always nice to start a game and we put in a good performance despite the result," he said.

"I'd like to play more minutes, I'm ready and I've worked hard since arriving in the country and at the club."

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