It was quite a successful time for me in my career. Obviously we won the Carling Cup, got to the UEFA Cup Final, and finished a record high position in the league, so we did quite well. Steve McClaren was the manager and the whole five years I was there was successful, so it was a good time.
Then there’s people like George Boateng and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Alen Bokšić was there when I started as well. I played with some very good, talented players. Joseph Job was a Cameroon international, you had Michael Reiziger as well, and the main Englishman Stewart Downing, who’s back at Boro now, and Juninho. So we had a good squad, and they were a good bunch of guys as well. There was a good atmosphere around the training ground and the changing room, with the staff and the players. We also had a great chairman in Steve Gibson so everything was perfect. It was a fantastic time for the whole five years.
After five years at Middlesbrough the opportunity came to speak to Chris Coleman and Steve Kean at Fulham. I had a good talk with Cookie and he convinced me to come. My last game for Boro was the UEFA Cup Final in Eindhoven and I thought it was a great way to finish.
I had a good time at Fulham. There was a good bunch of guys there too so I’ve been very lucky during my time in England because I’ve always had good people around me and a good atmosphere at the training ground. I really did enjoy my time at Fulham for the short time I stayed there.
I was a bit disappointed, but you can’t be liked by every manager, it’s not possible – unless you’re Lionel Messi or Ronaldo! When Cookie left the Club I was disappointed obviously because he was the manager who brought me in. I didn’t have that good a feeling with Lawrie Sanchez so I thought it best to leave rather than be on the bench, because I wanted to play. But when I look back I had a great experience at Fulham and I met some great guys like Moritz Volz, Carlos Bocanegra, Tomasz Radzinski – a great bunch. There’s no regrets there, although I would have liked to have stayed longer.
Not as much as I’d wanted. Boro were on French TV in the cup but I’ve not seen them in the league, although I know they’re doing quite well.
It will be a difficult game for Fulham because obviously Middlesbrough this season are aiming for automatic promotion after missing out last year. So they’ll be tough to beat at home, but everybody has off-days. I think Aitor Karanka is doing a great job at Middlesbrough. He had a quiet start but now he’s doing very well.