Bryan Ruiz came on and changed the game in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Reading. His goal was one of real quality but we’ve only seen flashes of what he can do in his time at Fulham.
He’s obviously got a lot of ability and you saw from the reception he got when he went back to FC Twente last season with Fulham just how loved he was there. He’s a player that's taken his time to find his feet but I strongly feel that Fulham are starting to see the best of him.
He’s been at the Club for over a year now, he’s had his settling-in period and I’m excited by what the future holds for him and Fulham. He’s played on the left, the right and just behind the frontman during his time here and it’s the latter position where I think he works best. It gives him the freedom to roam and collect the ball; if you stick him on the wings he can sometimes get a bit isolated. He can find a pass so I’d like to see him in the middle, wanting the ball and doing some damage with it.
It was very disappointing to only come away from Reading with a point in the end. As I said after the 2-2 draw at Southampton, getting points away from home isn’t too bad but the manner in which we’ve conceded in the last minute again has been infuriating. It felt more like a defeat afterwards. Attacking-wise, we’re looking very good in the final third but defensively we haven’t shown that bit of nous to see games out. It was a great game for the neutral, mind, with six goals shared.
All teams will look back at fixtures they could or should have won but already this season we’ve dropped late points against Manchester City, Southampton and now Reading. If we’d held on in those games we could be as high as fourth. But we’re the third-highest scorers in the table and goals have been spread throughout the team – even Chris Baird’s found his scoring boots – we’re just lacking that bit of concentration at the other end.
We seem to talk about Dimitar Berbatov most weeks but I just think he’s different class. There will be a lot of teams kicking themselves now for not taking a chance on him in the transfer window. They’ve missed a trick there because he’s arguably been the signing of the season. He’s not just a superb player, but he gets those around him playing as well. Everyone seems to raise their game when they’re on the same pitch as him.
We mentioned Bairdy earlier and he’s chipped in with two goals in as many games now. I’ve been impressed by his displays in the middle of the park. His versatility has probably counted against him at times but he’s so reliable and playing in midfield has given him a bit more licence to get forward. I’m sure he’ll be looking for three out of three this weekend against Everton. It’s not easy moving from full-back to midfield. I had a stint there in my Doncaster Rovers days and unbelievably scored two in two but I was back in defence before too long!
Everton will be coming into Saturday’s game off the back of their eventful 2-2 draw with Liverpool last weekend. They had a great start to the season, although they’ve now drawn their last three games. They’re a good side with quality throughout the team, however. Marouane Fellaini is a handful and Nicika Jelavic is a threat, while as a former full-back I’m a big fan of Leighton Baines. He’s the successor to Ashley Cole’s England spot in my opinion. He’s got great ability; he’s good going forward and he can also defend. He takes a mean free-kick too and he’s just the complete player in my eyes.