Zamora for England? Why Fulham's striker is suddenly on the radar
Barely a year ago, the drinking fan's
In Zamora's final season at West Ham, in 2007-08, a staggering 78 percent of his attempts to score failed to hit the target. Last season for Fulham he got that figure down to 65 percent -- but since Zamora scored only four goals in 41 appearances, the refrain could be reprised endlessly by fans home and away.
Now, almost every weekend brings a rousing chorus of
What on earth has happened?
First, these are not just the frantic chatterings of a nation clamoring to see lumbering incumbent
Zamora's form should not necessarily be written off as an average player hitting a run of good fortune. Eight goals in his last 15 appearances might look streaky, but it is the nature and timing of those goals that is crucial. Early goals gave Fulham head starts against Sunderland and Portsmouth, while a last-minute strike won the home match against Birmingham. Zamora's goals have earned Fulham seven of its 42 points this season, and the delicately measured flight of the free kick that beat Birmingham goalkeeper
Even less likely is that he could have so deftly orchestrated Fulham's progression to next week's Europa League semifinal meeting with Hamburg on a fluke. Zamora's goals took Fulham past FC Basel and holders Shakhtar Donetsk, and his quick reply to
"The thing about Bobby now is that he is not just scoring goals against anyone," Hodgson told the
"Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings," English literary sage
Had Zamora made public his desire to emulate
The calls for Zamora to at least be meaningfully considered for an England place are, on these grounds, by no means misplaced. But there are certainly notes of caution to be struck before we all get carried away. Hodgson, having rescued Fulham from relegation from the Premier League on his arrival, is very visibly the architect of improvements in almost every position, in which you will invariably find a player written off by other clubs. In its success, his Fulham side has been greater than the sum of its parts.
Hodgson directs proceedings from the technical area like a conductor at his stand, baton tracing movements up and down and across the pitch. Organized and industrious, each player understands his role in harmonizing Fulham's sound, linking the players behind him to the players in front of him. None has the temerity to attempt much beyond their designated tasks.
In this system, Zamora's combination of muscle, touch and hunger has thrived, but that is far from a guarantee that he can do the same for England. For all of Heskey's lumpen dysfunction in domestic football, Capello is aware that Heskey has proved to aid Rooney's strike rate on the international stage. But if confidence is the vital ingredient to Zamora's success this season, imagine the spice a phone call asking him to cancel his summer holidays would add.