Scott Parker has urged Joe Bryan to make the most of Antonee Robinson’s suspension – and show that he deserves to reclaim his place as Fulham’s first choice left back.
The former Bristol City full back will step in for the American international after Robinson was sent off against Chelsea at the weekend. Bryan hasn’t started a Premier League game since October, when he paid the price for Fulham’s poor start on their return to the top flight – a remarkable reverse in his fortunes after his brilliant brace against Brentford secured the Cottagers’ Premier League return at the first time of asking.
Parker told his pre-match press conference earlier today:
“I am sure it has been very, very difficult for Joe. Last year he was fantastic for us. He started the season and had that shirt and I think Joe would be the first to say he probably didn’t really grab the opportunity with both hands and at that point Antonee Robinson has come in the team and he’s just had to sit behind someone who has done remarkably well.”
“I know for sure he has the quality and the capability to grab that opportunity and that’s what he needs to do because it has been tough. He was instrumental for what we did last year and the final was just a snapshot of that really. He gets his chance now again to come into this team and show his quality and show the Premier League how good he is.”
The Fulham head coach feels he is lucky to have strength in depth at left back with both Bryan and Robinson able to offer an attacking threat and well suited to operating as wing backs in Parker’s new system.
“I am fortunate enough to have two left-backs here that both have brilliant quality. We’ve all been accustomed to seeing Joe’s quality in the sense of his technical quality, his delivery of a ball, his classy set-plays, he can score goals, you can play him higher up the pitch. Is he a lot different to Antonee Robinson? Maybe the only difference I see is Antonee has more running power with the ball, gets you up the pitch a little bit more. But certainly Joe brings his quality with the ball. This is a big opportunity.”