Tim Ream’s made a habit of proving people wrong. He famously fought his way back in Slavisa Jokanovic’s plans when it seemed like he was set to leave Craven Cottage – and the likeable defender has done so again this year in becoming one of the key figures in Marco Silva’s rebuild. Skippering the side under the new manager represented a dramatic shift from being jettisoned by Scott Parker, but his inclusion made sense given that the veteran has never let Fulham down at Championship level and his skillset is ideally suited to Silva’s footballing philosophy.
Aside from a couple of painful injuries, it is clear that Ream is enjoying life again at Craven Cottage having almost disappeared from view under the previous regime. He has certainly justified his inclusion at the start of the season ahead of the likes of Alfie Mawson, Michael Hector and Terence Kongolo. He has forged a strong partnership at the heart of the back four with Tosin Adarabioyo and his engagement with the Fulham fanbase on social media regularly brings a smile and some insight into both the American’s dry sense of humour and the hidden world of professional football.
He also presides reassurance at the back having been there, seen it and done in the second tier before. Ream has ground his way through two successful promotion campaigns and has a wealth of experience at this level. He’s experienced enough to be aware of his limitations, as evidenced in those largely self-effacing social media posts, and has been a steadying influence as Fulham reacclimatised themselves to the heady world of the Championship. Whilst the Whites look formidable going forward, Ream has been part of a defence that has only conceded eighteen league goals to date – as well as memorably getting on the scoresheet himself at Preston.
Ream’s partnership with Tosin works effectively for Fulham. The 34 year-old’s reading of the game is exemplary and compensates for a lack of pace, whilst his distribution allows him to step out from the back at times and begin attacks. A much-loved figure at Craven Cottage, it is brilliant to see him with a smile on his face once again after a difficult season on the fringes of a struggling side – as he referenced in an open interview at the start of the campaign. Let’s hope he hears that roar of ‘Reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam’ echoing down by the banks of the Thames as he receives possession for some time to come.