Jailed ex-Wigan striker Marlon King is reported to have converted to Islam and has told inmates hate preacher Abu Hamza is his 'hero'.
King, who was convicted of sexual assault and assault occasioning actual body harm when he punched a 20-year-old female university student and broke her nose in December 2008, has also demanded that other prisoners call him Abu Hamza Tariq, reports The Sun.
Hamza was jailed for seven years in 2006 for soliciting murder. King is said to pray five times a day, has demanded Halal meat, and will only speak to other Muslim inmates.
The Sun says prison staff at HMS Wayland in Norfolk, are shocked by King's change of behaviour - just three weeks after the newspaper reported that cocaine and a banned mobile phone charger had been found in the 29-year-old's cell.
The former Jamaica international is also said to have suffered a black eye after a row in a dinner queue a fortnight ago.
An insider is quoted in The Sun as saying: 'Marlon's gone from bad boy convict to devout Muslim in next to no time. He is talking about Abu Hamza as a hero - even though he is hated by the public.
In the dock: King leaves Court after facing charges of sexual assault last year
'Marlon has even talked about converting his family when he gets out of jail later this year.'This isn't temporary - it's a total lifestyle change. Marlon reads books about Islam for hours in his cell.'
King, who earned £35,000-a-week at Wigan before the club terminated his contract last October, is also reported to have made the astonishing claim that he will play for Chelsea on his release from prison.
Jailed Wigan striker Marlon King will appeal against sexual assault conviction, claims agent Don't tar everyone with the Marlon King brush, insists Harry Redknapp