Posts Tagged ‘Wayne Rooney’

Why Bobby Zamora has to be seriously considered for England.

February 22, 2010

I wasn’t going to write a post about this topic but the ignorant comments of one Alan Hansen irritated me, so I felt I should say something.  Hansen’s rather smug ‘Zamora is not an international player’ comment was almost a carbon copy of Geordie buffoon Alan Shearer’s comments a few months ago. Both dismissed Zamora without saying why and both had a very smug attitude about it. In my book, whenever Shearer says anything about football, I tend to believe the exact opposite, such is his insight into the game. There can be no doubting that he was an excellent player but he is as intelligent as Sarah Palin.

Rant over, here are a few reasons why Zamora should be considered for the England squad:

1) He offers something different. Roy has alluded to this many times, and it is hard to argue with him. Can anyone name another English forward with the same skill set as Bobby Zamora? He is faster than Heskey, holds the ball up better than crouch and is more of a handful for defenders physically than Defoe. When I sat in the riverside whilst watching Fulham outplay CSKA Sofia, Zamora had several absolute world-class touches and flick-ons that some of the best strikers in the world would be proud of. Even my non-Fulham supporting friend who is super critical of players was mightily impressed.  I would be intrigued to see Zamora line up alongside Rooney, they would be one of the most bizarre/interesting front lines in the world, and I am sure really confuse and challenge defenders in different ways. England have not made a significant mark in International football for over 40 years, why not at least try something different?

2) He is on fire. For some reason people look at Rooney and say that his form is excellent therefore he will singlehandedly win the world cup for England. But when you mention the form of Bobby Zamora people say that it will dip and it has only been ‘alright’. Hmm, whilst it is very possible that his form will dip towards the end of the season, I think the fact he is in such excellent form at the moment has to put him in contention. Play him against Egypt. I can only see his confidence increasing yet further.  He is certainly in better form than Crouch, Heskey and Carlton Cole, the latter being in contention despite missing most of the season through injury.

3) He is a team player who brings others into play. What is the most important thing that Fabio Capello has done with England? He has made them start playing as a team. This is why Heskey has been so successful. Imagine an England team where Zamora can play in the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney like he does with Dempsey, Gera and Duff at Fulham. Again an intriguing scenario. England have a lot of attacking talent going forward but it can be under utilised exactly because there are so many attacking players. Bobby’s hold up play brings these players in and removes another attacker who wants to do it all themselves.

4) He works hard. Last season whilst he was struggling to get goals and being derided as a donkey he still put in a shift ever match. I have not witnessed one Zamora appearance for Fulham where he has not tried, even when fans have been on his back and he could have simply removed effort from his game. Pair him alongside Rooney and you would have the two hardest working forwards in world football.

One final word about Zamora. I think he has found the same situation with  Roy Hodgson that Hodgson himself has found at Fulham. They are perfect for each other. Roy has kept faith in Zamora like few other managers would. He has always championed what he has brought to the team when the goals were not flowing and I am sure Zamora is grateful for this. If anyone is worried about him leaving in the summer, I just cannot see it happening unless a really big side comes in for him, which won’t happen.

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Fulham 3-0 Manchester United

December 20, 2009

In March of this year, Fulham put in an excellent display against a 10-man Utd to earn a hard-fought victory that helped propel us into 7th in the league. Who would have thought a famous victory could be replicated a mere 9 months later? Before the match pundits were predicting a Man Utd win or at the most a draw, usually backing up their comments with lazy nods towards the results of previous seasons. For me, United were in line for a beating like this. How they escaped with a win against Wolfsburg astounded me but they have been fairly average this season and with the injury list at such a length things were going to get worse before they started to get better.

However, Fulham played out of their skins and completely dominated Utd all over the pitch. Even with their defensive frailties, Utd still had a very potent attack but this was neutralised by an excellent Baird and the usual suspects in the back 5.  Utd were limited to speculative long-range efforts, embarrassing considering the riches they have going forward.  Fulham were unstoppable going forward with Zoltan Gera playing ‘in the hole’ behind the rejuvenated Bobby Zamora, and Duff and Dempsey making dangerous runs forward.

The first goal came just after Kuszczak pulled off an outstanding save to deny Gera after Zamora nonchalantly chested the ball to Gera who looked to apply the finish with an accurate side foot. I have to admit, with Kuszczak apparently on form I was fearing another Vito Mannone performance against us. Luckily this wasn’t to be. Murphy robbed a poor Paul Scholes in midfield, took a few strides, set himself and then blasted home from 2o yards out. As Rich over at CCN has pointed out, this was due to a clever piece of deception by Murphy. This sent Fulham fans into a state o Euphoria and the match ebbed and flowed until half time with Fulham very much in the ascendency.

As the second half kicked off I was wondering whether our lack of ruthlessness in not putting away Utd in the first half would come back bite us a la Burnley.  My fears were allayed as duff swung an excellent right footed (!!) cross deep for Dempsey to head back across goal and Zamora to apply the finish. Utd were left in shambles and the win was sealed. Alex Ferguson changed things around, bringing on Wellbeck and Berbatov. This made for a brief Utd resurgence before Damien Duff killed the match. A free kick from the half way line was swung into the box, Zamora again chested it down expertly for Duff to power home on the volley.  Three quality goals to top off an excellent performance.

Overall an excellent team performance. Stand-out players were Zamora (again), Duff, Dempsey (who defended as well as he attacked), Murphy and Gera. I think we have finally found the position Gera revels in and I whilst I do not believe he should oust a fit Andy Johnson from the team, I think we may have found a new formation to make us more potent on the road. What really stands out for me from this game is that Utd did not score. I thought that Owen was awful and should not be going to South Africa and Rooney cut a frustrated figure, running all over the pitch and collecting the ball from left back and central defence. Credit to Hodgson’s defensive solidity that was derided by some as too negative for much of last year.

Fulham now go into next weeks clash full of confidence and with a full week of rest and uninterrupted training behind them. Tottenham did not play particularly well against Blackburn this weekend so Fulham should be confident of getting a result. The match will be tough but Fulham are at home and players are returning from injury, so there is every reason to be optimistic.