Up until last night Darren Bent could consider himself the unluckiest English striker in the country – despite bagging 22 goals this season Bent has continually been overlooked by Fabio Capello. But now he has a rival, Bobby Zamora’s stunning season has seen him score 19 goals so far, 8 of them in Europe, all of which, and in light of Emile Heskey’s continual inclusion and poor form, make his case for a call-up striking.
If Capello is to stick to his very public and strident mantra of only picking players in form, which, despite the odd baffling exception – think Stewart Downing – he has, then Zamora has to be included in the next squad.
Fulham’s exceptional European Cup run has been an excellent platform for the former Brighton man to showcase his technique, awareness and mental strength that has surprised many people.
Despite remarkable goal scoring exploits as a youngster for Brighton a few years ago, he struggled in the Premier League. Since spending time in the wilderness at Spurs, and never really settling at West Ham, he has found a home at Fulham and flourished relatively late in his career.
In the last couple of years, Zamora has been an effective front man holding the ball up and bringing others into play, but has lacked a striker’s instinct and the calm required in and around the box. But he’s now become a goal threat whether in the air or on the turn, and even from free-kicks. He genuinely looks to have time on the ball when he receives it; makes good decisions, can slip an acute pass in, or keep it with his back to goal. To cap it all off his finishing has become very technically sound.
These attributes have helped Fulham play some very efficient possession football and do exceptionally well in a tough competition.
He’s scored 6 times in the Europa League this year, which puts him level with the incredible David Villa. And, as Roy Hodgson said, puts the mooted £40 million price for Edin Dzeko into perspective. In short the man can do everything that Emile Heskey can do, but more because he scores. He definitely deserves a chance to prove he can do it for England.