Marlet's new start

Thursday 15 August 2002

Steve Marlet has yet to complete his first year at Fulham but he is already hoping for a fresh start.

After he became their record signing in an £11.5million move from Lyon at the end of August last year, his hopes of playing in the Champions League and at the World Cup were dashed.

He missed the first half of the season with a knee injury and, when fit, he did not score enough goals to satisfy the Fulham faithful. Marlet was cast as an expensive misfit and lost his place in the France squad.

After a season like that, it is hardly surprising that the normally cheerful Frenchman went on his summer holidays determined to get as far away from football as possible.

Marlet said: "I went to the Caribbean and tried to avoid the World Cup. Not being picked for the squad was a big disappointment but it was difficult to get away from it because people kept phoning me to tell me what was happening.

"This season is like a fresh start for me. The manager of the national team has changed and maybe I'll get another chance.

"At Fulham when I joined I was injured and it was difficult. But this year I have had pre-season with the team, I am fit and I want the season to get going. Maybe it is like a fresh start there, too."

On the international front, the 28-year-old's wish has been granted with his call-up for France's friendly against Tunisia next week.

At club level, Marlet has been on good form in Fulham's run to the InterToto Cup Final, but he admits he still has a lot to learn as a striker.

He said: "Maybe I have to learn to be more greedy for goals. I like to score, of course, but I also like to play for the team.

"At Lyon I was a winger and I had only one year as a striker so maybe I have to change my mentality a little. I have no doubts that the problems we had scoring at Fulham last season will not continue.

"I think we had a confidence problem because we have many players who can score."

Marlet is confident, though, that Fulham already have the ability to do well this campaign.

"Signing Junichi Inamoto has added something new and I think we should aim to finish in the top seven or eight.

"We also hope to get into the UEFA Cup by winning the InterToto and do well in that.

"Personally, if I play the whole season I hope to score 18 or 20 goals because I got nine last time in a shorter period."