You know that a club is having a good season when Bobby Zamora is being linked with a place in the England team.
With Premier league survival achieved long ago and with an extended European tour, Fulham fans must be questioning whether the team can carry on this years form into next season. If the papers are to be believed this is also praying on Hodgsonâ€™s mind.
Having built a team which is difficult to break down, who will get the goals if Zamora is not scoring? It is for this reason that Fulham have been linked with FC Twenteâ€™s master poacher, 24 year old Costa Rican, Bryan Ruiz.
Ruiz began his career at LD Alajuelense, in Costa Rica’s top division, making his debut at 18 years old. In all he made 83 appearances scoring 24 goals. He won the 2004 CONCACAF Champions Cup and the 2004-2005 National Championship. He quickly built a reputation as a great goalscorer and earned the nickname “la comadreja” (the weasel), due to his ability to control the ball and the ferocity of the following shot.
As his reputation grew a move to Europe became a certainty and he made a move to Belgiumâ€™s Gent, a well known stepping stone for South Americans looking to build a career in Europe.
His scoring continued unabated, despite the change of continent and playing style. He caught the eye of Steve McClarenâ€™s FC Twente and moved for â‚¬5 million on a four year deal. He slotted into the team seamlessly and has been an ever present since he made his debut. He has bagged an impressive 23 goals in 30 appearances in his solitary season at The Tukkers, which has helped the team to the pinnacle of the Eredivisie.
Ruiz is poacher through and through. He stands at 6 ft 1inch and is excellent in the air, he is capable of scoring with his head and with either foot, although he is predominantly left footed.
He gets his goals through two approaches. Firstly, he plays off the shoulder of the last defender and looks to latch onto through balls. He is also a predator in the penalty area. Ruiz will fight and battle defenders in the box as he seeks to get that all important toe poke or ricochet off a defender to enable him to score. He is also a scorer of flashy goals, his favourite method is when he controls the ball on his chest and unleashes a ferocious drive.
Fulham fans may be concerned of his wiry frame and whether it will be able to withstand the well known aggression of Premier League defenders. However, Roy Hodgson is no mug in the transfer market and Ruiz has stepped up to the plate each time he has moved up a league. This could be a great signing for the Cottagers if Hodgson can work some of his transfer magic.
Video evidence of Bryan Ruiz can be seen here.