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Wednesday Fulham Stuff (16/11/11)...

Started by WhiteJC, November 16, 2011, 07:16:44 AM

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Running the rule over Bobby
by DAN on NOVEMBER 16, 2011

Bobby Zamora felt he did 'okay' last night. I think that's about right. Football's a fairly subjective sport – there are plenty of opinions flying around. The newspaper rankings place his performance at the lower end of the spectrum but for me they miss what Zamora's about. The Sun complained about him spurning chances saying that if he was truly world class he'd have made more opportunities for himself, but I reckon they fail to see what Capello appreciates in Zamora.

For a start, he's a useful retainer of possession. Frustratingly, against Spain Darren Bent couldn't really hold onto the ball. Yes, he was horribly isolated and up against a top defence, but without the service to work the centre backs or get in behind, he felt like the wrong fit as a lone striker. Even though Zamora didn't see too much of the ball himself, you see tell the Swedish centre backs were alive to his danger. At one point, when he received the ball from a throw-in he was surrounded by four Swedes on the edge of the box. He drew plenty of fouls and there was a lot of encouraging link play, when he dropped deep to keep possession.

Zamora's more of a workhorse than a poacher – and if you were being harsh you'd say that he's not an international class finisher. Perhaps Bent would have put away one of three chances that fell his way. But would Bent have been able to fashion a chance out of the frenetic move that began with Walcott and ended with Zamora stabbing instinctively into the side netting after an improvised one-two? He brought others into play nicely – like the old-fashioned number nine – some patient play down the left creating the space for a surging Leighton Baines run and his presence in the penalty area for England's goal afforded Gareth Barry vital room.

Zamora spoke in the build-up to the international week about every game being a trial, with the understudies auditioning for the right to replace Wayne Rooney. While he didn't steal the show, he was effective enough to earn another outing. Perhaps the most encouraging thing was that his physical presence up top allowed the likes of Phil Jones and Jack Rodwell, largely holding midfielders in Capello's 4-5-1, to break from midfield. His cushioned header invited Rodwell, venturing much further forward than in Saturday's win over Spain, to lash a drive over the crossbar.

Disappointingly, just as he was stretching a tired Swedish defence, Capello withdrew him in favour of Bent. It was noticeable that England were much more fitful going forward in his absence. Rooney's suspension will likely mean Capello will take five strikers to Poland and Ukraine. Bobby's in with a shout – but he'll need to get a few more goals to further his cause.


An Amazing Feeling

Good things certainly come to those who wait and after ten years without qualifying for a major tournament, Damien Duff's Republic of Ireland will be taking part in Euro 2012.

Duff spoke of his delight after he played a starring role as the Irish sealed their place in the European Championship finals.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men recorded a 1-1 draw in Dublin, securing a 5-1 aggregate victory over Estonia in the play-off.

"It's an amazing feeling - it's probably even better than [reaching the World Cup in] 2002 because time is running out for a few of us, so I suppose you appreciate it more now," said the Fulham man.

"It's about time we gave the football fans something to cheer about. It has been all about the rugby boys for a while, so it's their turn now.

''It's brilliant and it's about time - 25 years since we've been to the Euros and 10 since we got to a major tournament.

"We've walked around Lansdowne Road a few times with nothing to show for it at the end of campaigns, so to qualify here I think is special for everyone.

"Everybody wants to play in a major tournament and now to have the opportunity is going to be great, but I think for everyone in the squad it's about enjoying tonight and enjoying the qualification."

Read more:


Dempsey's Goal Record

The United States rounded off their 2011 fixture calendar with a 3-2 victory over Slovenia in a foggy Ljubljana.

Fulham's Clint Dempsey netted with a well-placed header on 41 minutes, it was his 24th strike for the US national team and moved him into joint fourth in the States' all-time goal records – alongside Joe-Max Moore. Former Fulham defender, Carlos Bocanegra, also earned his 100th cap for the national team.

"It's great to be alongside that type of company and be moving up the charts in the sense of goals, especially the majority of my career playing in the midfield," said Dempsey of his achievement.

"Anytime you can score goals and help your team win you always feel good about that. To find yourself when your career is done towards the top is a great feeling."

Looking back on the match, Dempsey gave his assessment of the performance and netting his goal.

"It was a great ball in from Michael [Bradley]," he said. "I tried to get away from my man and make sure that I put it on frame because I had a chance earlier in the game where I put it a little bit wide. I put it on frame and it went into the back of the net, so I was excited.

"It's great for us. We're in a rebuilding stage, and we're trying to figure out what our best XI is going to be for World Cup qualifying," he added. "It's good to get a win, especially on European soil. I think it's been three years since we've done that. So we're excited about the win.

"That's the first time that I have ever played in a game with that much fog. It was almost like it would get better and then get worse. You couldn't really see from one end of the pitch to the other. Both teams had to play with the conditions, and we made the most of it."

Read more:


Fulham star targeting Euro 2012

Former Brighton and West Ham striker Bobby Zamora is targeting a place in Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 squad

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is hoping to get into England's Euro 2012 squad after earning his second cap against Sweden at Wembley last night.

The 30-year-old is keen to maintain the club form which prompted England boss Fabio Capello to select him.

"I've just got to work hard at Fulham and keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "The gaffer will be looking, watching and that's all I can do."

Zamora was up front on his own in the 1-0 win and admitted he needed to work hard.

"It's hard up front on your own," said the forward. "You've just got to work hard and put yourself about and that's what I tried to do."


Sunderland's O'Shea to return against Fulham

JOHN O'SHEA is in line to return to the Sunderland starting line-up against Fulham this weekend after helping the Republic of Ireland reach Euro 2012.

The Black Cats defender completed the full 90 minutes in last night's qualification play-off second leg against Estonia, with the 1-1 draw completing a 5-1 aggregate victory for the Irish.

O'Shea has not featured for Sunderland since last month's Stadium of Light outing against Aston Villa after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring problem first sustained during pre-season.

But the 30-year-old proved his fitness in Dublin last night as Ireland ensured they will be playing in Poland and the Ukraine next summer.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce told the Echo: "It's good that John is fit enough to be back playing for Ireland and I just hope that he has no reaction to the game."

Phil Bardsley deputised effectively in O'Shea's absence in Sunderland's narrow defeat at Manchester United before the international break, while fellow full-back Kieran Richardson was equally solid.

But with the suspended Seb Larsson and injured Connor Wickham both missing the clash with the Cottagers, Bruce is toying with the idea of tweaking his back four.

O'Shea could line up at right-back, with Bardsley moving across to left-back and Richardson pushing forward into midfield.

Former Manchester United man O'Shea's return ahead of schedule does a provide an injury boost to Bruce though and the defender will be buoyant after securing Ireland's first appearance at a major championships in a decade.

Ireland went into the game having all but secured their passage in Tallinn on Friday night, but skipper Robbie Keane passed up two early opportunities to extend the 4-0 lead with which they returned.

However, full-back Stephen Ward reminded him how to do it 14 minutes before the break.

Keeper Pavel Londak could only parry Kevin Doyle's header and the Wolves defender was on home to smash the loose ball into the back of the net to start the party in earnest.

But the bumper crowd saw Estonia respond and get their reward 12 minutes after the restart when Shay Given was beaten by Konstantin Vassiljev's viciously swerving 30-yard drive.

The visitors finished strongly as they looked to gain revenge for defeat on their own pitch, but could not force a late breakthrough.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: "I am very, very proud for many reasons. We came here with an important objective.

"We have started the last campaign in a difficult group with Italy and then we had France, and we could have achieved qualification.

"But we started again and we have discovered new important options in terms of players. They have shown how important they have been for us.

"We have improved our quality, like against Russia. We have started again with new mentality and the players believe in our system."

Rep of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St Ledger, Dunne, Ward, Duff (Fahey 79), Whelan, Andrews, Hunt (McGeady 59), Keane (Cox 67), Doyle. Subs Not Used: Westwood, McCarthy, O'Dea, Walters. Goals: Ward 32.

Estonia: Londak, Jaager, Rahn, Klavan, Kruglov (Puri 18), Teniste, Vassiljev, Vunk, Lindpere (Kink 54), Saag, Voskoboinikov (Purje 72). Subs Not Used: Kotenko, Sisov, Dmitrijev, Barengrub. Booked: Rahn, Vunk. Goals: Vassiljev 57. Agg: (5-1) Att: 51,151.


Sunderland's Sweden international Seb Larsson frustrated at missing Fulham match

SEB Larsson says he will be a frustrated man sitting out his one-match suspension at the Stadium of Light this weekend after shining for Sweden.

The 26-year-old was one of the few players in the Scandinavian side to impress last night as the Swedes went down to a 1-0 defeat Wembley.

He tested England's rearguard on a couple of occasions and was strong in defence when he was dropped into defence in the second-half to cover for injury – denying Darren Bent a near certain goal and cutting out a dangerous ball to Daniel Sturridge.

And he told SportMail last night that he is disappointed not to be now playing against Fulham this Saturday.


West Ham Leading the Chase for Fulham's £5m Rated England International Striker

Fulham and England striker Bobby Zamora is set for a shock exit from Craven Cottage, with Crystal Palace and former clubs West Ham and Brighton & Hove Albion showing an interest.

According to reports on, Zamora and Fulham boss Martin Jol's relationship is deteriorating.

The pair are believed to have had a number of disagreements over Jol's decision to rest the England international for Fulham's Europa League games.

"Jol has a poor relationship with Zamora and it is no secret that they do not see eye to eye," a source said.

"Fulham could be willing to listen to offers for him but it depends on what happens with the other forwards and where they are in the table in January.

"If Fulham are struggling with around 16 points, they are more likely to trust in the players who have helped keep them up quite comfortably in the last three seasons.

"If they have around 22-26 points, there could be some high-profile changes and you will see a gradual break-up of what is an ageing squad."

West Ham seem to be leading the chase for Zamora, as the player wants to stay in London and the surrounding area, however fellow promotion chasers Crystal Palce and Brighton are also keeping tabs on the 30-year-old's situation.

Zamora has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal with Fulham and the club value him at £5million.


Reserve Match Moved

Fulham's Barclays Reserve Team match against Chelsea has been moved to Monday 28 November 2011 (Kick Off 7:05pm) as a result of Chelsea's involvement in the Fifth Round of the Carling Cup.

Read more:


Championship duo plot Zamora raid

West Ham and Brighton are being linked with a shock £5m move for Fulham striker Bobby Zamora when the transfer window reopens.
Zamora has been a pivotal part of Fulham's success over the last two seasons and his form has been so good that it has earned him a call-up to England's squad, with the striker starting in their 1-0 victory against Sweden on Tuesday night.

But rumours are circulating that he doesn't see eye-to-eye with boss Martin Jol, who replaced Mark Hughes in charge at Craven Cottage in the summer, and the Dutchman could be prepared to offload him in the new year.

West Ham and Brighton, both former clubs of Zamora's, are both understood to be in the market for a goalscorer to boost their bids to win promotion to the Premier League while Crystal Palace have also been linked with a move for his services, with Zamora settled in the south east and unlikely to want to change location.


Ruiz slices through Spain
by DAN on NOVEMBER 16, 2011

After the England game, last night I caught the Costa Rica-Spain friendly via the very helpful Royal Spanish Football Federation website which provided an excellent live stream.

Watching principally to see how Bryan Ruiz got on, I was amazed at how Costa Rica were able to keep the ball and fashion chances against the Spanish, who looked very suspect defensively. Vicente del Bosque has got a bit of a hammering in the Spanish press this morning – they evidently take friendlies far more seriously then he does – although it's far too early to talk down a side of Spain's quality. They certainly weren't helped by a horrid ricket from Iker Casillas, who miscontrolled a backpass, allowing Randal Brenes to fire the hosts into a surprise lead.

Ruiz, who most now be surely pressing for a starting place after a couple of impressive cameos of late for Fulham, played as a second striker just behind Joel Campbell. Captaining the side, he was full of clever runs and passes, even if the pace of the game was far more sedate than what he has come to expect in England. He made the second goal for Arsenal striker Joel Campbell, with a nice square pass, which Campbell bent round the goalkeeper from 25 yards. He then belted an advertising hoarding for good measure.

Spain had lost all eight of their previous friendlies since winning the World Cup in South Africa but rallied late on as del Bosque threw on his trusted lieutenants. Manchester City's David Silva halved the arrears with eight minutes left and David Villa, who had spurned a succession of second half chances, broke the hosts' hearts at the death when he headed in a free-kick from Santi Cazorla.

Judging by his Twitter feed, Ruiz was greatly encouraged by his evening's work – both his own performance and Costa Rica's. The travelling might lessen his chances of starting at Sunderland on Saturday but if he can reprise this kind of quality he'll be knocking on the door in no time. You can view highlights of the game here:
Costa Rica 2 -2 Spain All goals and full highlights Brenes Campbell Silva Villa


Wednesday 16th November
An action shot from Sunderland's game at Craven Cottage in 2001 takes today's Daily Pic spotlight.

HANDS FUL: Sunderland midfielder Gavin McCann beats Fulham's John Collins to the ball and then battles with Sean Davis during the Black Cats' trip to Craven Cottage in August 2001. Peter Reid's side slipped to a 3-0 defeat to the Premier League newcomers.,,10281~2517522,00.html?


Warnock given £15 million transfer kitty

Money rich QPR are lining up a double swoop for Fulham's Andy Johnson and Tottenham defender Sebastian Bassong.

Neil Warnock has been able to strengthen is squad considerably following the arrival of new owner Tony Fernandes but was restricted during the summer due to time. Despite this he managed to sign the likes of Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Now in January, the fiery manager wants to add more quality and experience to his squad in order to keep the London club in the top-flight.

According to reports, Fernandes has given Warnock a transfer kitty of between £10-15 million in January and he has targeted Johnson and Bassong. He hopes to add four or five new players to his squad and Johnson would be an ideal signing as a proven goal scorer at the top level. AJ hasn't featured much for Fulham this season since the arrival of Dembele and Zamora's return from injury. The Cottagers formation often sees them playing just one up front with Clint Dempsey playing just behind and therefore Johnson has mainly been a substitute.

He is yet to pen a new deal which runs out in the Summer and perhaps Fulham will be keen to cash in come January.

Warnock tried to sign Spurs defender Bassong on deadline day of the last transfer window but a proposed move fell through. He is obviously a big fan of the central defender and if signed would fit in alongside Anton Ferdinand to give the R's defence a more solid look about it.


Sunderland's Larsson frustrated to miss Fulham clash

SEB Larsson says he will be a frustrated man sitting in the stands at the Stadium of Light this weekend after shining for Sweden.

The 26-year-old was one of the few players in the Scandinavian side to impress last night as the Swedes went down to a 1-0 friendly defeat against England at Wembley.

The Sunderland star tested England's rearguard on a couple of occasions and was strong in defence when he dropped back to cover for injury in the second half – denying ex-Black Cats striker Darren Bent a near-certain goal and cutting out a dangerous ball to Daniel Sturridge.

And he told the Echo last night that he is disappointed not to be now playing against Fulham this Saturday, with suspension ruling out the summer signing from Birmingham City.

"I feel as though I've been in good form this season so to miss the game against Fulham is not ideal," he said.

"I would have loved to have played because the game's at home and I'm going into every game feeling confident at the moment.

"I've scored goals and contributed to good results and, after playing against England, it would have been great to go into a Premier League game this weekend.

"I felt that the England game was almost like a Premier League game, given the players we were up against, so it would have been nice to have followed the game at Wembley with this weekend's game."

This will be the first league game that Larsson has missed this season and Black Cats boss Steve Bruce will miss a player who has utterly transformed Sunderland's attacking threat from deadball situations.

Larsson, though, is relaxed about this weekend's match.

"There's no such thing as a one-man team and we have many good players in our side," he said.

"Things will have to be different this weekend because some players are not available to the manager, but we have the squad to overcome that.

"We are the home side and I'm quietly confident that the lads will go out this weekend and get a good result for Sunderland."


Fulham Football Club sponsor takes trade to new markets

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has announced that Fulham Football Club sponsor FxPro will serve as the title naming rights partner of Super Rugby in Australia.

Organised by the rugby unions of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia (SANZAR), Super Rugby is the is the premier club rugby union competition in the southern hemisphere.

Under terms of the new agreement with the foreign exchange broker, financial details of which were not released, starting in 2012 the 15-club competition in Australia will be known as FxPro Super Rugby until the end of the 2015 season.

Though not widely known in rugby circles, in soccer FxPro formerly sponsored Premier League team Aston Villa, is the current shirt sponsor of Fulham FC and has agreements with French Ligue 1 team AS Monaco and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Additionally, in motorsport the company maintains deals with Formula One team Virgin Racing and the World Rally Championship (WRC).

According to an official press release posted by the ARU, 'FxPro's logo will appear on the official match ball at each game in Australia, and the official match jerseys and shorts for all five Australian franchises – the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels, Western Force and The Brumbies.

FxPro branding will also be prominently displayed in-stadium and on-screen at all Super Rugby matches played in Australia.'

"We're delighted to welcome FxPro into the framework of Australian rugby through a now well-established championship that is unquestionably the best of its type in the world," said ARU chief executive John O'Neill. "The status of Super Rugby clearly has an alignment with the objectives of FxPro and we believe the relationship will be enormously beneficial to both parties. Having a foreign exchange broker with offices across a large number of nations is fitting for a championship that is unique – being played across three territories as diverse as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa."

FxPro chief marketing officer Jim Manczak added, "The decision to partner with the ARU and Super Rugby is a natural fit with the future ambitions of the business, and we are delighted to be partnered with such an exciting and popular tournament. FxPro Super Rugby is a showcase for the world's best rugby players and the Australian teams are home to some of the biggest stars in the game like James O'Connor, James Horwill, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, David Pocock and Will Genia. We wish all of the teams the best of luck for the upcoming season."


'Number Nine, Bobby Zamora!'
by LORK on NOVEMBER 16, 2011

It was a proud moment for Zamora's and Fulham's supporters last night as our number 25 stepped up in the England number 9 shirt, starting for the first time for his country and playing 70 very positive minutes before substituted for Darren Bent. His display was pretty much unanimously praised by pundits; while Zamora didn't have a breathtaking game and perhaps should have scored a goal, it was an effective one and there's no coincidence that our runners from midfield were so effective with him upfront.

Capello originally wanted to play Zamora and Welbeck together upfront according to a few papers, but Welbeck's late withdrawal put paid to that (why then he didn't use Sturridge instead, I don't know. Both Welbeck and Sturridge are good players though, exciting talents for sure.) Instead, Zamora served as the lone front man, designated with the job to maintain possession and win territorial advantage while the 5 in midfield broke forward to support him. Zamora performed, I think, just as any Fulham fan watching him over the last 3 and a half years would have expected him to perform. Tireless running, the sly and useful ability to win freekicks from hopeless long balls with good use of his body, great awareness, good one touch layoffs, joining play to link passing movements as opposed to waiting to get on the end of them. A good performance.

Compare it with Bent, who is no doubt a good player but when he came on pressure on the Swedish goal noticably died down, we couldn't keep possession as well and Sweden saw alot more territory and possession themselves. If England are going to play a single forward upfront, and it looks like we are (a 4-1-4-1 without Rooney and 4-2-3-1 with him, I imagine based off these two friendlies and games where Rooney has played) then Zamora has very effectively staked his case as the prime candidate for the 1 up top. Imagine Zamora and Rooney linking up just as Zamora and Gera did so effectively. And it's refreshing to see from an England forward, to play with intelligence, composure, touch and utter selfishness. Rooney does, to be fair, but he is a totally different model of forward, without the discipline to play as that selfless frontman (although that's not to detriment to the team as long as it is set up correctly, Rooney has all the talent in the world). Capello liked Heskey, so he must love Zamora.

And I think that last point is why us Fulham fans are so excited. Back in 2008 after his performane against Tottenham at home in a 2-1 win, I called for Zamora to be in the England squad. I think Heskey was in the squad at the same time and I made the comparison with the two; that if you were to choose a selfless target man with the job to allow the rest of the team to flow, then surely Zamora's the better choice. And he might have been, if the achilles injury didn't rule him out of the preliminary World Cup squad last year. Or the broken ankle from 5 months of last season. He's been unfortunate for sure. But now Zamora has a very, very real opportunity to go to a major International tournament, and represent himself, England, and Fulham.

Zat Knight was the last Fulham player to play for England before Zamora and while I'm sure we were all proud, we kinda knew that he didn't have the ability to play for England and that they were token caps in a meaningless US tour. But that game against Sweden DID have meaning. Capello has talked about Zamora ever since that first press conference after the Germany game, and at last fate/destiny has allowed him to make an impression, along with a load of other England hopefuls; Zamora's first start came at the same time as Rodwell, Walker and Jones were talked about as part of England's 'new generation', and it looks like Zamora is, in a way, a part of that. At least, that's what his start against Sweden signifies to me anyway. There is just one friendly, the one against Holland, scheduled before the provisional squad is announced. No doubt Rooney will be involved so it will be interesting to see what happens with Zamora too.

And what will the knock off effects be for Fulham? As we know, he has a wondeful amount of ability, but he's very much a confidence player. Zamora, after a stop-start beginning to the season, is coming into some form, and hopefully last night will help him really start to fire.

Now all we need is Capello to realise Stockdale's clearly superior to Joe Hart and we'll be laughing.




Bobby Zamora is edged out by Sweden, but will he be edged out by England?

Bobby Zamora had a distinctly underwhelming performance against Sweden, potentially harming his hopes of another international call up.

These six players were also surprisingly tasked with leading the line for the Three Lions at some stage, but found life at the top too hot to handle...

ENGLAND CAPS: 7 (2009-2010)
It seems unlikely that ex-Chelsea striker Cole, now in the Championship with West Ham, will ever get another shot at international football to add to the seven substitute appearances he's won under Fabio Capello. Two of those came against Ukraine and Belarus in 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but he was ineffective and failed to even make Capello's provisional group for South Africa. An unused sub three times since then, Cole now finds himself even further down the pecking order after failing to attract Premier League interest in the summer.

ENGLAND CAPS: 1 (2007)
One cap, one goal: a 100% record, right? Nonsense. Nugent missed a sitter in the Euro 2008 qualifier in Andorra before cruelly poaching Jermain Defoe's effort as the ball trickled over the line to make it 3-0. England failed to qualify for the tournament and you're now likelier to see Arsenal win the Premier League this season than Nugent representing his country ever again.

Andrew Johnson
ENGLAND CAPS: 8 (2005-2007)
Johnson couldn't quite make Sven-Goran Eriksson's 2006 World Cup squad even though he started two of the Swede's qualifying games after impressing for newly promoted Crystal Palace in 2004/05. He went on to play another six times in 2005 and 2006, but a series of injuries have limited his opportunities at Everton and Fulham. Five goals in Johnson's last two games for Fulham wasn't enough to grab Mr Capello's attention this time around, so you have to wonder about the 30 year-old's future prospects.

ENGLAND CAPS: 1 (2003)
Arsene Wenger has been tipped as the ideal man to replace Fabio Capello as England boss this week: a worrying scenario when you consider the Frenchman once paid £10m for Francis Jeffers. The lanky striker was tipped for a fruitful England career after scoring on his debut in the 3-1 friendly defeat to Australia in 2003. He partnered Wayne Rooney in the second-half that evening, but while Rooney has now made over 70 caps for England and scored more than 150 goals for Man United, Jeffers still has one cap and failed to cut the grade at Highbury. In fact, he hasn't made the grade everywhere from Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship to the Newcastle United Jets in Australia.

ENGLAND CAPS: 1 (2002)
12 Premier League goals in 21 games for Bolton gifted Ricketts a starting debut in a friendly against Holland in February 2002. Liverpool and Spurs were preparing bids for the striker while his manager, Sam Allardyce, had likened him to Ruud van Nistelrooy. An impressive performance could have cemented a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's plans for the World Cup, but he looked woefully off the pace before being hauled off at the break. A mixture of poor application, limited ability and party pooping condemned Ricketts to a career spent largely in the lower leagues, where he was last spotted playing for Tranmere in 2010.

ENGLAND CAPS: 4 (1998)
Dublin was hotly tipped to make Glenn Hoddle's 1998 World Cup squad after finishing the season joint top scorer with Michael Owen in the Premier League and earning his first three caps in England's pre-tournament warm-up games. The last of those came against Belgium in the King Hassan Cup, two weeks before Hoddle's squad announcement. Spurs striker Les Ferdinand was expected to miss the cut, but it was Dublin who stayed at home and despite a £5.75m move to Aston Villa, his last international outing came a few months later in a friendly against the Czech Republic.


Bobby Zamora 'alerts QPR after fallout with Fulham boss Martin Jol'
England hopeful Bobby Zamora could be headed for a shock switch to QPR after reportedly falling out with Fulham boss Martin Jol.

Struggle: Zamora is reportedly unsettled at Fulham (Picture: EPA)

The Cottagers striker, who is hoping to win a call-up to Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 squad, has seen his relationship with Jol deteriorate throughout the season, and now reports suggest a New Year exit could be in the pipeline.

'Jol has a poor relationship with Zamora and it is no secret that they do not see eye to eye,' a source told

'Fulham could be willing to listen to offers for him but it depends on what happens with the other forwards and where they are in the table in January.

Zamora is thought to be settled in London, and although West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton are all rumoured to be interested in his services, it's unlikely he'll be willing to take a step down to the Championship with his England chances still in the balance.

QPR would have no problems matching the striker's reported £40,000-a-week wages, and although Neil Warnock currently has six senior frontmen on the books, a £4million bid for someone of the calibre of Zamora could prove too tempting.

Read more:


Jol row could force Zamora into West Ham's arms
Poor relations with Martin Jol could see Bobby Zamora leave Fulham

Bobby Zamora will be considering his options come January after a series of rows with Fulham manager Martin Jol, it has been claimed.

Zamora, who got his second full international cap for England in last night's win over Sweden, fears the gradual change of tactics under Jol will jeopardise his chances of making future England squads. are reporting that Jol's preference of a continental 4-3-3 formation over a system that uses a support striker has led to arguments with the Cottagers' senior striker.

It is also suggested the Fulham boss' insistence that Zamora be rested for some Europa League game has strained the relationship between the two even further.

The England international's options could be limited, however, as it is thought he is unwilling to move away from London, but he may be willing to drop down a league to an ambitious Championship club, such as West Ham or Crystal Palace.

Zamora would be a welcome signing for the Upton Park club, if Sam Allardyce were to make a move in the January transfer window.

A Fulham source spoke to "Jol has a poor relationship with Zamora and it is no secret that they do not see eye to eye.

"Fulham could be willing to listen to offers for him but it depends on what happens with the other forwards and where they are in the table in January."

Zamora's departure would also give Jol's side significant trouble up front come the end of the season, with a number of possible departures possibly on the horizon.

Andy Johnson's contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and he his holding out for a better deal to be offered.

Moussa Dembele has recently been linked with Tottenham in the press, whereas Arsenal have made enquiries in the past regarding Clint Dempsey.


Dembele's hapless honesty has cost his integrity

We all know that every footballer roaming the heights of Premier League football thinks it, but we never expect them to actually open up their generally over-used jaws and spit it out to an awaiting bundle of journalists, drooling over ever word of criticism and lapping up each inconsistency in a player's speech. It didn't stop Moussa Dembele from labelling Tottenham Hotspur a "step up" though, did it?

When the question was directed towards him about the possibility of White Hart Lane being his newly inherited theatre, our Belgian striker of such critical acclaim decided to buck the trend of sporting morality and suggested that Spurs are an "attractive club". He didn't stop there, though.

"I could possibly leave Fulham during the summer. I have heard Spurs are interested in me and it would be a step up if I joined them - and that has always been my ambition.

"I played a lot of games for Fulham last season when I was not injured and I have now got a regular first-team place once again. So I don`t see why I should not take a step up to a higher level."

Charming. In one foul swoop not only has he undermined the quality of the club for whom he plies his trade, but he has frustrated the fans and placed himself in an already busy shop window.

Of course, players have a right to move on and a right to play at the highest level - though that arguably isn't Tottenham; nevertheless that is another debate entirely - but clubs and fans, at a minimum, have a right to be respected. But  that still doesn't delve near deeply enough to the root of the problem at hand in that Dembele doesn't even see the lack of class in what he's doing.

"I'm just speaking my mind" would be a probable response were questions fronted to him about his latest quotes, but, as I'm sure we're all aware, there are times in which to be honest and open and times in which to keep quiet and keep your thoughts to your highly-prestigious self. Of course, this event calls for the latter.

The official Fulham site moved quickly to tip-ex over the misdemeanour-cum-swindle but as always with post-trauma cover ups, it went nowhere near shrinking our newly found fears.

It's just a reflection of modern football though, unfortunately. When we are paraded with authentic stories of Wayne Rooney hustling Manchester United out of an extra bundle of cash every week in a scam so masterfully blueprinted you'd think it worthy of a feature length movie, there is no surprise that every Tom, Dick and Harry deems themselves so bountiful in talent that they are worthy of life's greater trimmings.

Dembele is but another ready member for the unscrupulous bandwagon of arrogance and greed, where he's more-than-likely sitting alongside Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez to name but a few.

It's clear, then, that our striker of such credentials will depart and it has become far more a case of when and how much as opposed to if. Doubtless, we'll hear the complaints of how Fulham are too much of a selling club and how progress will never be made in such circumstances, but I can't think of many Lilywhites who could argue the point that a man who self-righteously claims that a team we defeated by a mere four goals to nil last season is of far superior quality to the one at which he plays now is a man we would want as a representative of Fulham FC.

For all his dizzying ability and all his simply stupefying trickery, and while he holds the power to turn a game on its head in one moment of sincere brilliance, he is a man we could, personality wise, do without.

£12 million, cash in hand, and the dressing room is a better place.

Either that or take a leaf out of Brede Hangeland's book and provide Fulham the respect it deserves, because talent isn't a right to bigger and better things - it is a mere footnote.


Bobby for England

Bobby Zamora's England performance won't have changed anyone's mind.

Which is to say: if you thought he was good before, you'd have been pleased to see him doing what he does well, namely holding the ball up, combining well with team-mates, and generally doing his bit to make sure the attacking phase is cohesive.  If you didn't rate Zamora before you still won't now.  It's like Emile Heskey all over again, and those arguments are too tiring to get into for the thousandth time.

It seems reasonably obvious to me that there's a role for Zamora in England's European Championship squad. Nobody else plays the role nearly as well, and against certain types of opponent his involvement will surely be important (I can't decide which types of opponent though: against Spain, with so little of the ball, perhaps it's important to have someone who can make the ball stick? Or do you need someone like Darren Bent, who can spring off on the counter, gobble up rare chances, but not play as well in team moves? Perhaps there's a good argument for a Zamora/Bent combo?).  His work with Downing (a player I've always rated) and Baines on the left was excellent, and England looked goodish with Zamora on the pitch.

Without Zamora the forward players England have available are more reliant on something being created *for them*, rather than creating for others. It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing this: Peter Crouch scores most games for England, so does it matter if he's not providing much for others? Same for Jermain Defoe? The counter argument might be that England have played a fairly predictable game for years and not got beyond Quarter Finals, so a more progressive approach with less traditional roles up the field may be in order.

Whatever. Zamora did pretty well and should at this point be considered a good bet for inclusion in the final squad. Whether he makes it depends on how Fabio Capello views the other striking options available to him: Sturridge, Wellbeck, Bent and Rooney are all players of promise, and that's ignoring the now fringe players like Crouch, Defoe and even Andy Carroll. A scoring binge from any player could propel him into the team, but Zamora's uniqueness should  ensure that someone else misses out.