Roy Hodgson believes Bobby Zamora is as important to the way Fulham play as Wayne Rooney is to Manchester United.
The Fulham boss was speaking ahead of Fulham’s Europa League semi-final second leg game against Hambug – a match which Zamora hopes to play in despite a recurrent Achilles problem.
“When Wayne Rooney doesn’t play for Manchester United, when Steven Gerrard doesn’t play for Liverpool, Didier Drogba doesn’t play for Chelsea, or when Robin van Persie is out for a long time at the Arsenal, all the headlines are about these people – and those clubs have got riches galore if you compare to us,” Hodgson said.
“I can’t say that it doesn’t matter, that players of Zamora’s quality and his importance to the team this year, don’t matter, because that would be under-valuing the contributions he has made, which have been a fantastic contribution.
“If this does not work out, he certainly will be absolutely devastated, to have been a major influence in us getting so far, and then not be able to take part in the final stage.
“We will be happy if Bobby can play, but if he can’t we will accept that as part and parcel of football, injuries occur.
“We know we have other players in the team who can keep our play going as we saw at Everton on Sunday.”
Hodgson has revealed that Zamora may eventually require surgery in an effort to rectify niggling problem.
“I would think if it does not clear up in the coming days, then the chances are we would choose to have a minor operation to clear up the area, around the tendon, which would help him next season,” said the Fulham boss.
“It will clear up anyway, when you are not out running every day, things do get better – but unless you get to the root of the problem, there is always the risk that, when you start again, sooner or later, the problem is going to make itself known.”