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Fulham striker Bobby Zamora: Now I'm getting my rewards
Published : 19 Dec 2009 12:23:28
Bobby Zamora's nine goals for Fulham this season are even more remarkable when you consider his tally for the last two campaigns: just five goals in 54 appearances. With statistics like that, it is easy to see why the striker has earned a reputation as a meagre goal-scorer. Head boy: Bobby Zamora, center, scores Fulham's second goal against Basle Zamora has not managed double figures since 2006-07, when he played for West Ham. And as recently as last summer, Fulham were happy to accept a £5million offer from Hull City, only for the striker to reject the personal terms on offer. After making a case for Zamora to be an 'unusual selection' for Fabio Capello's England squad, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson qualified his comments, saying: 'There's an awful long way between saying what I said and touting Bobby Zamora to play for England.' The idea of Zamora playing at the World Cup was, of course, distinctly laughable. It is all a far cry from the prodigious talent unearthed at Brighton in 2000, when Zamora scored six goals in six games on loan from Bristol Rovers. He went on to bag a further 77 goals in 128 starts for the club. Big things were expected from the former England Under 21 striker, but Zamora failed to take his chance after a £1.5m move to Tottenham, scoring just one goal, in the League Cup, during a six-month stint, before joining West Ham early in 2004. Team spirit: Fulham's players congratulate goalscorer Bobby Zamora Four years and 40 goals later Zamora signed for Fulham for £4.8m but, although he established a useful partnership with Andy Johnson and helped Fulham qualify for the Europa League, he found the net only four times. Yet, despite his upturn in fortunes, the 28-year-old does not think he's doing anything differently. 'I'm just getting the rewards now for all the work I did last year,' he said. 'The goals didn't come for me last season, but I was setting them up for others - and now they have started going in for me. Everyone thinks I'm a different player. 'That's not the case - I'm much the same player and performing as well as I've ever done.' First five Last eight games games Minutes ............425 689 Goals ................1 4 Shooting accuracy ....... .50% 47% Chance conversion .... .13% .......27% That said, there have arguably been two crucial differences. With Johnson injured, Zamora has had to shoulder more responsibility for scoring - a challenge to which he has responded by using his imposing frame to do more than create space for others. Secondly, Fulham's European fixtures have given Zamora a genuine confidence boost. He has played in eight matches and scored four goals. Against FC Basle on Wednesday night he used every inch of his 6ft frame to good effect, giving the Swiss side's central defenders a torrid night as they struggled to cope with his physical presence. Fulham captain Danny Murphy said: 'The way Bobby's playing, he's really causing teams problems. He's been through his ups and downs, but he's having a great time at the moment. 'Long may it continue because when he plays like that we're a good side, because it means we've got a big target man who we can play off and that's been a big factor in the Europa League and also the Premier League.' Zamora added: 'There have been times when I haven't been on the score-sheet and people haven't appreciated everything else I do for the team. But I must be doing something right because our Premier League position is similar to where we finished last year and we've assembled a very good team.'