Marlet's World Cup hope

Wednesday 21 November 2001

Steve Marlet has vowed to return before Christmas - and insisted that he can still force his way into France's World Cup squad.

Since signing for a record £11.5 million in September, Marlet has endured a luckless run of injuries that culminated in a broken tibia he sustained on October 27 against Southampton. Before the injury, he had set up two goals for Steed Malbranque in a 2-0 win.

Marlet, who had received criticism for leaving Champions' League hopefuls Lyon for a lucrative switch to Craven Cottage, hit back and insisted that the move would not cost him a place in the Roger Lemerre's World Cup squad.

"I will be back and I'm not going to miss the World Cup just because I left Lyon," he said. "At Fulham I'm very well-paid and I have no regrets."

Marlet's injury jinx began almost as soon as he signed for Fulham. He explained: "First I got injured with the French team in Chile. When I came back, I took a knock on exactly the same place in training. It was bad luck but I had to wait before I could make my debut. It's the first time since the beginning of my career that I've had such injury problems.

"It's very difficult to live through, but I don't have the blues. I would be much more bothered and worried if I was suffering from muscular problems. Many peope are beginning to wonder about how good I am. I'm dying to show the fans how much I can add to the team."

Marlet, whose last goal was on August 25, for Lyon in a 2-0 win over Troyes, is set to return over the Christmas period.

And Fulham's assistant coach Cristian Damiano cannot wait for his comeback: "I'm not worried abut him at all," he said. "Steve is mature, he works hard and he has the profile to succeed. We're not worried, we just can't wait for him to come back."