Bobby Zamora has stepped up to the
plate in the Premier League and excelled in Europe.
Now the time has come to see
whether Zamora can make an impact at international level and gatecrash Fabio
Capello’s World Cup party.
Back in August the notion of
‘Zamora for England’ was absurd and appeared as likely as Fulham reaching the
last four of a major European competition.
The striker joined from West Ham in
a $9 million combined deal with John Pantsil in July 2008 and hardly gave them
an instant return on their investment as he managed just four goals last term.
The mumblings of discontent on the
Hammersmith End might have been louder than the sound of Zamora’s shot hitting
the net and the opposition fans might have sung a cruel version of Dean
Martin’s That’s Amore, that went ‘When you’re sat in row Z, and the ball hits
your head, that’s Zamora.’
But his work-rate and commitment
could never be faulted. And those qualities have paid off as he has been a revelation
He has notched 19 goals this term –
which is already three more than he managed in the last three seasons.
Eight of those have come in
Fulham’s epic Europa League adventure which has seen them breathe life into the
revamped competition by toppling the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and
Wolfsburg on their nine-month run from the third qualifying round in July to
this week’s goalless semi-final first leg in Hamburg.
Zamora also netted in his team’s
prestigious jaw-dropping home wins over Liverpool and Manchester United.
He has transformed into a talisman
by the Thames. The only chant that can be heard inside Craven Cottage these
days is ‘Bobby for England’.
Time is running out before Capello
names his provisional squad for the finals.