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I can remember the excitement that Damien Duff’s arrival at Fulham generated. Despite a couple of lacklustre years at Newcastle, you knew the Irishman was a smashing player and that Roy Hodgson, who gave the boy his first break at Blackburn, would know just how to get the past out of him. So it’s proved – and it’s no secret that Duff is really enjoying his football at Craven Cottage.

It was well documented that my three years at Newcastle didn’t work out so it was a massive move for me to come to Fulham to get my career going again. I knew the gaffer from my Blackburn days so it was always going to be exciting.

Working with him has sparked me again – I’ve loved every minute of it and it’s been really enjoyable. It’s just what I needed after my three years at Newcastle. It’s been a great season.

The Irish press quote Duff as suggesting that European success with Fulham would help to ease the pain of the Republic’s World Cup heartache.

That and more. I suppose in a way it is a distant memory, that November night in Paris. Getting to a European final would be massive. No one thought we would have a chance of getting to the final when we set off on this journey.

It will open new wounds when I’m watching it (the World Cup) on the TV but it’s been a fantastic journey, there have been some great games in the group stages and in the knockout stages we have had some fantastic fixtures.