Now the Montenegro striker is playing up front with great success for Juventus and had an outstanding match last weekend when Juve beat Milan in Turin.
Just turned 27, Vucinic was the perfect all round lone ranger, linking cleverly with his midfielders, well able to hold the ball up, as well as to strike for goal.
Unfashionable Lecce, in Puglia, picked him up shrewdly as a 16-year-old and nurtured him for a couple of seasons before elevating him to the first team. There as at Roma he has been a constantly high scorer and now he looks just as effective with Juventus.
He was missing from the 0-0 draw Montenegro forced at Wembley despite his absence, and you wonder whether England would even have managed that result had he been playing.
In Montenegro, with an impassioned crowd behind them, Montenegro, though they lost so unexpectedly in Wales, could trouble an England defence which won’t have the fading Ferdinand and which John Terry can find it difficult against players with pace.
Capello is still, we hear, determined to bring younger players into his moderate England team? But who are they, Jack Wilshere still, alas, fated to be out months, apart? When Basel embarrassed Manchester United at Old Trafford did the much praised defender young Jones look anything like the part?
Does anyone understand football? In the space of little more than two weeks, I watched Queens Park Rangers virtually stroll to a 3-0 win at Wolverhampton, then crash ineptly 6-0 to a Fulham team, which till then hadn’t won a single Premiership game. Football, it might be said, is all in the mind, and QPR’s players at Craven Cottage seemed paralysed by some kind of, dare one say it, neurosis.
It might perhaps have had something to do with the two opening goals they gave away in the early first half, each the result of fatal errors by their usually adept keeper, Paddy Kenny, the first when he failed to hold a shot, the second when he clumsily gave away a quite superfluous penalty. Who knows? The fact remains that subsequently, bewilderingly feeble play by his defence conceded other goals, some of which made you wonder why the players seemed to have switched off and stopped competing.
All credit to the ebullient display of Andy Johnson, yet when he went to the wings, as he frequently and profitably did, it was almost as though the QPR defenders gave him free passage. And the goal which Bobby Zamora eventually scored came when the QPR defence simply stood off him, as though inviting him, to score in his own time; which he did.
All this and six goals without even having Damien Duff on the field, rather than on the Fulham bench. As one who has seen a number of Fulham’s games this season, and indeed they have been numerous thanks to their participation in the bloated and long winded secondary European tournament, I’ve thought Duff, with his balance, control, intelligence and movement, the pick of the Fulham attack, working cleverly and creatively on the right wing, making insidious use of that dangerous left foot. But he wasn’t even needed in the annihilation of QPR.
Yes, QPR missed three regular players but their flaccid showing was still both inexcusable and inexplicable. You could understand Neil Warnock taking of Adel Tarrabt, the gifted “fanasista” who as we know can do everything or nothing on different days, and this was one of the nothing. Predictably, there was a furious row between the player and manager Warnock, after which Adel got dressed, marched out of the stadium, walked along the Fulham Palace Road, and briefly spoke to a bunch of QPR fans till things it seems began to turn nasty. Bizarre.
Taarabt won’t change; in the succession of Rodney Marsh and Stan Bowles for sheer, unusual skills, though quite without their commitment and consistency. What puzzled me was that even when he went off, QPR didn’t put on that other gifted fanastista, the Hungarian international Amos Buzsaky a splendidly skilled and inventive player, supposedly unused because he would duplicate Tarrabt. Surely, one thought, this was the moment to bring him off the bench but it didn’t happen and you wonder why the Hungarian seems content to stay at Loftus Road when the Premiership itself has so few constructive players of his talents.