Chris Baird’s excellent recent performances at the heart of the Fulham midfield have won him high praise from his national manager, Nigel Worthington.

The Northern Ireland international’s transformation from derided right back to highly-regarded squad player has surprised more thna a few Fulham fans but Worthington believes confidence has a lot to do with Baird’s good run of form.

Chris has matured into a very dependable and capable player. While once he might have been looked upon as a useful stand-in, he has established himself in a vital holding midfield role for club and country.

It goes without saying that I’m delighted at what he has achieved and continues to achieve at his club. There was a time when Chris was not getting as much pitch time as he would have liked at Fulham bit still did the business for me.

I’d like to think his experience gained in European competitions with Northern Ireland has helped his cause at club level. He has certainly proved he can hold his own in top company. All he really needed was a vote of confidence and the opportunity.