Clint Dempsey has published the first extract from his new Goal.com diary this morning – and the Fulham midfielder talks about how he had to get used to the pace and power of the Premier League, having endured an injury-ravaged start to his Fulham career after his January 2007 transfer from New England Revolution:
Getting used to the pressure of playing in the EPL is probably the biggest adjustment in moving to England. The EPL is a league where you’re under a microscope and you have to perform weekly and each match matters. You have to realize that you can’t ever really relax, that you always have to keep pushing, you always have to keep fighting for something. If you lose focus you can quickly find yourself dropping down a division. And the whole point of coming to a new country is to play at the highest level and in the best league possible.
When I came from MLS to Fulham I had just had an injury so I didn’t get to train a lot in the offseason. I didn’t come into that January feeling as fit as I possibly could have because of the injury and the fact that I had kind of been letting it heal and trying to do rehab. I wasn’t really able to go out and test it enough and get fully fit so that I could hit the ground running.
The hardest part was not getting as many minutes on the field as I would have liked. The best way to get fit is to play games, and I wasn’t really getting games. That was tough to deal with and I think it made me appreciate the time I did get on the field even more than I did before. To go from being one of the main guys on my team in MLS to coming into a place where I was a sub was hard to take. I was only coming off the bench for bits and pieces, and it was very frustrating, especially towards the end of the season.
We were fighting a relegation battle. Being on the bench and not really having anything I could do about our situation was very hard, because you can only really have any control when you’re on the field. I’m a fighter and I want to be on the field when the times are tough and when we need to get results. Luckily, my prayers were answered when I was able to get the goal against Liverpool that kept us up at the end of the season.
He’s also searingly honest about his first-half performance against Newcastle last week:
If you look at the game against Newcastle last weekend, I think I only made like 15 or 16 passes in the game. I don’t think I was getting on the ball enough in the first half and the team didn’t have much of a rhythm.
The second half was great, getting three goals and being able to make a difference, but the first half was definitely frustrating. You go into halftime knowing you’ve worked hard all week and yet things aren’t going according to plan.