Tom Cairney used an interview with the Evening Standard this afternoon to insist he was loving playing his football at Craven Cottage and distanced himself from rumours linking him with a move to Newcastle United during the January transfer window.
The Fulham captain, who has recently recovered from a serious knee injury to return to the Whites’ starting line-up, told the Standard that ‘you can’t put a price on happiness’ and reiterated that he had every intention of honouring the four-year deal he signed this summer. The 26 year-old told journalist James Benge:
You can’t put a price on happiness. Last season I was extremely happy on and off the pitch and that’s when you play your best football. I wanted to show my happiness to the fans, let them know that I want to be here and try to take Fulham forward.
I love playing football here. That’s what I want to do. I feel a responsibility to Fulham. It’s been great ever since I arrived. I enjoy playing football, I really enjoy playing it at the Cottage and long may it continue.
The 26 year-old playmaker did admit to being flattered by the reported interest from Magpies boss Rafa Benitez, saying that plaudits from successful managers showed he was performing well.
It’s a massive accolade that Rafa Benitez wants me. It’s a pat on the back to myself I guess, to know that other managers appreciate what I’m doing.
Cairney scored a sensational long-range strike in Fulham’s 4-1 win over the Championship winners at St. James’ Park last season. The Scottish midfielder has warned the Whites’ Championship rivals that, after a slow start, Fulham are close to hitting their best form:
We’ve still got the fear factor. Teams still respect us and if we win two or three on the bounce they’ll start worrying we’re back to that peak from last season. I don’t think we’ve hit our best form yet but to be fair we hit our peak quite late last season as well. The second season is always the hardest. Teams set up differently for us now. Last year we shocked a lot of teams with our style of football. This year we’re a scalp.
The play-offs aren’t a million miles away, we just need a run. Back-to-back wins can do so much for you in this league.
The popular skipper also had encouraging news for Fulham fans about the long-term situation regarding his troublesome knee injury, believing that he’s over the worst of it – having admitted to striving too swiftly to be ready for the start of the new season back in August.
My injury was weird. On the scan there was no damage but there was pain I couldn’t get rid of. It’s not completely gone now but I can deal with it. In hindsight, I definitely wouldn’t have rushed back. As stupid as it sounds, at least if you break something you can see the injury and you know how long you’re going to be out.
With this there were no timescales. The physios didn’t know. No-one knew what the best thing was to do so I kept coming back and trying to force it.