Rich bravely poses that very question over at Craven Cottage Newsround. Our new loan signing didn’t have a great game at Villa Park yesterday, but it’s a struggle to think of anyone in a Fulham shirt who actually did. He was slagged off by our keyboard warriors long before the final whistle went, although that’s no reason to hop aboard the bandwagon.
Rich’s statistics suggest that he saw a lot more of the ball than many of his predecessors at Fulham. In fact, thinking about it this morning, his performance reminded me very much of the early Bullard efforts last season and the displays Murphy put in when he was playing in a deeper role. He was dropping back to receive the ball from our defenders and initiating the attacks when ideally our playmaker (if that’s what he is) should be higher up the pitch supplying the telling ball through to the forwards. Etuhu ended up in a seemingly much more advanced role than normal and that’s part of the reason why we looked very ponderous in the final third.
I’d hazard a guess that Zamora might have been able to latch onto a few of the more direct balls that Greening played later in the game, but he still surrendered possession far too often for me. Just having the ball isn’t enough, it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s far too early to malign Greening – he’s likely had at best a couple of full training sessions with the whole squad (he didn’t travel to Russia) and was making his debut yesterday. Another couple of weeks on the training pitch – this is what I mean about the impending international break helping us – and he should be up to speed.
Of course, Murphy may well be back by then and our new signing might have to sit on the bench.