Born: Nottingham, 20 January 1991
Position: Midfielder; attacking midfielder
International caps: 2
International goals: 0
Signed: 26 June 2015 from Blackburn Rovers (£3m)
Fulham debut: Cardiff City 1-1 Fulham, 8 August 2015
Fulham appearances: 270
Fulham goals: 41
Honours: EFL Championship champions (2021-22), EFL Championship play-off winners (2018, 2020).
Signing Tom Cairney from Blackburn Rovers for £3m in June 2015 might just be one of the shrewdest deal Shahid Khan has struck in his entire business career. The peerless playmaker has become the heartbeat of Fulham’s most successful sides, growing in stature as a midfielder and a person during his time at Craven Cottage, and this season showing signs of cracking the Premier League in a deeper role at the age of thirty.
The Scottish midfielder shone once he was switched from a wide right position to the number ten role by Slavisa Jokanovic and delivered consistent displays where he dictated play alongside Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen in a midfield that swept all before them. He fought through the pain of a serious knee injury to send Fulham back to the Premier League in 2018, famously scoring the winner against Aston Villa at Wembley, and used the disappointment of struggling to make his mark in the top flight to fire two more promotion campaigns.
Cairney memorably returned from almost a year on the sidelines to score within minutes of his return to action against Cardiff in 2021 and Marco Silva has used his skipper smartly as a substitute to help unlock stubborn defences or close out results in the top flight – where the Fulham number ten has proven his worth. His wand of a left foot has a habit of popping up with glorious goals, such as the last minute equaliser that sent Leeds tumbling down the table in 2016 or the outrageous volley at Wolves earlier that season. As the Fulham faithful sings, there ain’t nobody like Tom Cairney.