Duo back Steed

Thursday 30 May 2002

Christian Damiano believes that Steed Malbranque has a bright future for both The Cottagers and in the international arena with France.

The Fulham assistant-boss looked on as Malbranque failed to inspire France to European Under-21 glory, but a string of impressive displays from the midfielder have prompted many to suggest he has what it takes to break into the full squad.

"I think he has the potential to be a very big player for Fulham and France in the future," said Damiano.

"We knew Steed was a good player but we had to develop him. In France he was very raw and I told the Under-21 manager Raymond Domenech, that after a season at Fulham we would turn him into a different player.

Domenech has worked with Steed again and cannot believe the change."

Domenech himself believes that Malbranque, who joined Fulham from Lyon for £5million last summer, has become a better player for his experiences at Craven Cottage, after seeing him steer France to the final of the European Under-21 Championships where they were beaten by the Czech Republic on penalties on Tuesday.

"In England he has greatly improved his aggressiveness and physical strength," said Domenech.
"He puts in his head he tackles, he is not afraid by the challenge and is now able to play at a very high level."