Bobby Zamora staking his claim for England call-up
Momentum is building behind the ‘Bobby Zamora for England’ campaign after the in-form striker scored an empathic free kick in the final moments of Fulham’s clash with Birmingham City.
It capped off a superb week for the 29-year-old as he sealed the three points for his side in sensational style under the watchful eye of England manager Fabio Capello.
His thumping strike in the Europa League last Thursday secured a vital home leg victory against Shakhtar Donetsk, inevitably leading to more calls for the striker to receive a call up to the international scene for England’s imminent friendly with Egypt.
Club captain Danny Murphy led the chorus, claiming that on current form and with the player’s confidence “sky-high”, Zamora deserved a chance with England. Yesterday, Roy Hodgson added his input to the debate and, as expected, was supportive of his number 25’s credentials.
“I know the fans were chanting his name for England and that was quite right,” said the Fulham manager.
“Bobby is performing like a true target-playing centre forward who brings his team-mates into the game and holds the ball up very well. But because he’s skillful he also scores goals,” said Hodgson.
With Capello in attendance at Craven Cottage, the Italian will have certainly have been impressed by the striker’s performance. Zamora provided a constant threat to the Birmingham City defence as he prowled the front line for Fulham.
The Italian manager has experimented with Carlton Cole, Emile Heskey and Peter Crouch for the role of a target man in his starting line-up. The presence of tall and robust striker was a prerequisite when Capello opted to deploy the 4-5-1 formation at various stages throughout the qualification campaign.
So far this season Zamora has 15 goals to his name in all competitions and his tally is vastly superior to that of the names aforementioned. Crouch boasts ten goals while followed closely by Cole with nine strikes and Heskey lagging behind on just four goals.
And when it comes to creating chances for team-mates his record of four assists is second only to that of Peter Crouch who has provided five.
Zamora, who has been capped at the under-21 level, is yet to receive a call up to the senior team. Upon reflection of these persuasive stats he surely deserves a chance, especially with Capello having insisted that he will select his World Cup squad on merit and not reputation.
Of course questions about the consistency of the player will be raised and rightly so. In previous seasons he has struggled to find the net regularly, very much in contrast to his prolific Brighton days.
His lack of experience in the Champions League may also be a factor for the doubters.
One may struggle to imagine Zamora clasping the FIFA World Cup trophy come next summer, but his qualities are undeniable.
Zamora’s large frame makes him a difficult opponent to dispossess. He is more than competent with the ball at his feet and when in form possesses unerring accuracy, providing a threat with his aerial ability and showing a willingness to get team-mates involved in attacks.
All are necessary components of the ideal target man.
Zamora must continue in this fine vein of form to maintain the chance of being included in the England squad for upcoming friendlies.
Demands for him to be part of the travelling squad to South Africa this summer may be premature, but at the very least Bobby Zamora has earnt the opportunity to show Fabio Capello and all interested parties what he can do in the hostile arena that is international football.