Chris Coleman believes Fulham are feeling the benefit of Ian Pearce’s return to fitness – and his simple approach to defending.
Injury had blighted Pearce following his arrival from West Ham in January 2004 but a special summer programme designed by Fulham’s fitness mastermind Steve Nance has revitalised him.
Coleman claims the 32-year-old centre-back is in the shape of his life after starting all seven Barclays Premiership games this season and is a big fan of his no-nonsense approach.
Fulham face London rivals Charlton in the Premiership on Monday night and Coleman said: “I played with Pearcey when he was at Blackburn.
“He was fantastic and was on the move to one of the big clubs. He did a good job at West Ham.
“He has been dogged by injury since he arrived and he has also played a lot with injury because that is the type of lad he is. We have not always had the best out of him but we have needed him on the pitch.
“He has had a great summer and is the fittest he has ever been. He hasn’t had any niggles. He shouldn’t have played against Watford two weeks ago because he had been out with a virus.
“We thought he was going to collapse in the last 10 minutes but we couldn’t take him off because we didn’t have any replacements left. He battled through for us though.
“Since the start of the season he has certainly been one of our best players. We need him to stay fit and keep doing what he does. All he does is run onto the pitch, does his job with no airs and graces and then runs off. That’s Ian Pearce and if he keeps that going there will be no complaints from us.”