Bobby Zamora hopes to use the forthcoming friendlies against Spain and Sweden to show he is good enough to go to Euro 2012 with England.
The Fulham striker is one of a number of forwards that Fabio Capello is considering after Wayne Rooney’s suspension ruled him out of the group stages of the tournament. Zamora, whose only previous cap came in a friendly against Hungary last August, has been a regular in Capello’s recent England squads and his form over the last 18 months has brought him firmly into the international reckoning.
Zamora is confident that he can deliver on the big stage and takes heart from his career path which has seen him prove the doubters wrong at every level.
Every time I’ve been called up to the England squad, whether I’ve played or not, I’ve come away thinking I can play at that level. I’ve proved that to myself in the training sessions we’ve had – it’d be mad if you didn’t pick up bits and pieces working with Capello and the other lads – but people will only really accept me at the top if I do it on the pitch.
Zamora was honest enough to admit to Capello that he wasn’t fit enough to be included in the England party for the last World Cup in South Africa after a knee injury limited his participation in the Europa League final for Fulham.
If I’d gone to the World Cup and not been injured, maybe I would consider myself an international footballer now. As it is, I’m on the fringe still, waiting for the chance. But even that leaves me pinching myself. I’ve come a long way by a very different route to most, playing with Bristol Rovers and Brighton in the lower leagues, and I wouldn’t change that at all.
There are probably only 10 league clubs in the country where I haven’t played, but that has made me more grounded and more appreciative of where I am today.
Zamora knows that his all-round play means he brings more to the party than his goal tally might suggest.
Joe Public and probably 99.9% of the country would probably say: ‘So and so’s scored X number of goals, so he’s a better player. But I recently asked the guys at ProZone what the stats were in terms of chances created and I was in the top six in the Premier League. That’s a striker creating chances, not a midfielder or a winger crossing the ball.
Clint Dempsey’s always going on about the significance of assists – he would, it’s an American thing after all – but I’m all for that. Let’s get league tables of assists like we do for goals scored. Apparently I came away with the most assists at Fulham despite missing the majority of last season. People in the game might notice that more but I’ll gladly hold the ball up and bring others into play./