Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is delighted with the manner in which Olivier Dacourt is settling into west London life.
The departure of likeable midfield jester Jimmy Bullard for £5 million to Hull City had the potential to damage the notable strides that Fulham had made thus far this season.
Fulham’s thrift meant that an adequate replacement may not have been found during the winter window, but the club – and Roy Hodgson – acted swiftly to secure the loan signature of French international Olivier Dacourt.
The 34-year-old found himself frozen out of Jose Mourinho’s Inter first-team plans, but has already made his debut for the Cottagers and Hodgson is pleased with his impact.
“We vitally needed another central midfield player to give us the number of players you need in that position to get through a season. We’re very lucky to have got someone of Dacourt’s quality,” Hodgson told the club’s official website.
It is not the first time the player has plied his trade in England, having played for both Everton (1998-99) and Leeds United (2000-03).
“People know him well from his time in England but since then he’s had a very successful spell in Italy, first with Roma where he won the Championship, and recently with Inter where he’s won three successive Championships,” added Hodgson.
“He’s been injured and that’s why, to some extent, we were lucky enough to get him because during his injury Inter have taken in other players and he’s not been able to break back into the team.”
On the qualities that Dacourt – who has been awarded the number 16 shirt – will bring, Hodgson added: “He’s a very fit person and all he needs is games to come up to pace and I’m sure that he’ll get those games. He knows that he’s good enough to play in this league; he knows he’s good enough to play for us.
“He is 34 but some people can be quite old as players when they get into their late twenties. Brian McBride was 36 last year while he was playing for us and I never ever thought watching him play, ‘this is a 36-year-old out there’. He could just as easily have been 20 as far as I’m concerned. So I didn’t have any fears about Olivier Dacourt’s age.”