Competition For Places

Saturday 3 November 2012 09:30

Martin Jol is pleased with the ‘luxury problem’ he has to contend with these days, as he prepares to select his starting XI for the visit of Everton on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

The Fulham squad is arguably as strong as it has ever been during the Dutchman’s time at the helm and our Manager spoke of his delight at the attacking options he has at his disposal.

“It’s about momentum,” he said. “If Hugo Rodallega scores against Wigan Athletic then I want to leave the team – it’s a ‘never change a winning team’ sort of principle.

“Mladen Petrić is such a gifted player that it’s tough to leave him out but that is the decision I have to make. He feels he should play and I think he’s right, but I can’t play them all. I can’t play all my best players up front and play with a 4-1-5 formation; it would be ridiculous.

“Petrić had one little problem – he got injured and then I signed Dimitar Berbatov so he was almost a victim of himself because I couldn’t wait for him as he was injured. I needed another striker.

“Then I started to play with Rodallega and Berbatov and that was okay because Rodallega scored against Wigan, so I left it. That cost Mladen his place but he played two weeks ago at Craven Cottage, together with Berbatov, and then Bryan Ruiz came back. So against Everton I’ve got the choice of playing Ruiz or Petric with Berbatov.

“If Petrić does well then that creates another problem for next week and that is what I want; competition for places.”

Another man who has been in and out of the side is Alexander Kačaniklić. The Swedish winger has been in fantastic form at times this season and Jol is confident that the 21-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.

“Alex is a youngster and has done well in home games but not quite so well away because he is not an experienced player yet,” our Manager explained. “Kieran Richardson came on at Southampton and he made the first one and scored the second one so I had a little problem in my choice for the next game at home.

“Kieran can play left-back as well so that is in my thinking if you look at the bench. I have to leave some players out and sometimes they are not even on the bench, they are in the stands.

“I’ve got 24 players now so we’ve got a few decisions to make. Alex Smith was in the squad [against West Bromwich Albion], made his debut and did ever so well but was never in the squad again after that because I had too many players, so it’s not easy.

“Kaca is a good talent and he will vary his game in the future because I think he could be a wonderful winger.

“He won’t be going out on loan because he’s very close to the line-up. On Thursday, for example, he played a game [in training] and then he was in my first XI in my head.”