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Ruud backs Zamora for England
Ruud van Nistelrooy has tipped Bobby Zamora to gatecrash England's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad. The Fulham striker has found the net against the likes of Juventus, Wolfsburg and Shakhtar Donetsk to help the Cottagers into the last four of the UEFA Europa League, where they play Hamburg in the first leg tonight.
Zamora has 19 goals to his name so far this season, which is by far his biggest haul since he first made the step up to top-flight football in 2003. His ability to hold the ball up and eye for goal have led some to call on Fabio Capello to give the 29-year-old a chance to test himself at international level ahead of the world finals.
"He's definitely a candidate now. He holds the ball, he's a team player, works hard and he's an all-round striker."
Ruud van Nistelrooy on Bobby Zamora's England claims
Time is running out for Zamora, though, with Capello due to name his 30-man provisional squad on 16 May. The former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United player's burly physique would make him an unfashionable choice for some but Van Nistelrooy, who will start against Fulham tonight, believes he deserves a chance.
"I think Capello doesn't look at fashionable things - he just looks at the effectiveness more than anything else," said the Dutchman, who spent five successful seasons at Manchester United. "He's definitely a candidate now. He's very important for the team.
"He holds the ball, he's a team player, works hard and he's an all-round striker. He has proven himself on a European level, which is also very important for him. Getting through against these teams and scoring goals in these games, it makes him more attractive for Capello."
After spending much of his three-and-a-half-year spell at Real Madrid either out of favour or on the treatment table, Van Nistelrooy decided to move to Germany on an 18-month contract in January. He admitted he came close to returning to the Premier League during the last transfer window, though, with Tottenham, West Ham and Fulham all interested in signing him.
"I was in serious negotiations with Spurs and here from Hamburg," Van Nistelrooy explained. "They were the two that in the end were there. I had a very good conversation with (Tottenham manager) Harry Redknapp.
"We couldn't agree terms though. Tottenham only offered me a six-month contract. For me that wasn't ideal with a family to get over there for six months."
Van Nistelrooy has tracked Fulham's progress this season and is sure they will present Hamburg with a stern test at the HSV-Arena tonight. "They can beat anyone, that's what they have proved," the 33-year-old said.
"We're aware of that and we have to be very careful. They're a Premier League side who play week-in, week-out against the best teams with the best players, so it will be a big test."
Date: 2010-04-22 11:47:26