Am I the only one who appreciates the delicious irony?
Frank Lampard pulls out of another England friendly with a mysterious ‘injury’ and is replaced by our very own Jimmy Bullard. Of course, such announcements have lost a bit of their shock value since Jimmy’s last call-up – for Fabio Capello’s first competitive games – resulted in a few training sessions and a couple of the best seats in the house for the matches in Andorra and Croatia.
The talk amongst Fulham fans since Jimmy returned from international duty was that his club form had suffered. His nadir might have been that game against Portsmouth when his untimely slip cost us a goal, but his blushes were spared by a late Clint Dempsey goal. There was some talk of sacrificing him for a more defensively minded midfielder to add a bit of bite to our midfield, but his form of late has picked up – several papers saw him as the driving force behind our win over Spurs at the weekend.
So, I’ll ask the same question as I did when Jimmy was called up for the first time: what are his chances of getting some game time? I’ll still say it was a long shot. Even though it is ‘only’ a friendly, I reckon Capello will still want to put out a strong side and Barry and Carrick have got to be ahead of Bullard in the pecking order if only on reputation. He should be a decent bet to get a spot on the bench, mind you, and it would be pretty sweet to see him come on, especially after he wrote a cheeky note to the German FA informing him of his German heritage before the 2006 World Cup.
Go and enjoy it, Jimmy, and we’ll happily toast your return whether you’re an international superstar or just the heartbeat of our midfield.