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Fulham defender Tim Ream impressed with Marco Silva

last updated Friday 28th October 2022, 11:55 AM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham defender Tim Ream
Fulham defender
Tim Ream
Tim Ream
His Wiki page
Fulham's USA defender Tim Ream admits he thought he had played his last game in the Premier League until he met Marco Silva and credits the Fulham boss with revolutionising the club’s prospects.

USA defender Ream made just seven top-flight appearances the last time the Cottagers were in the division two seasons ago, a campaign that ended in relegation, but is now flourishing again as a key part of Silva’s defence.

The 35-year-old was a regular last term after the Portuguese’s appointment, playing 48 times in all competitions as Fulham came back up at the first attempt as champions, and has started all 12 of his side’s matches back in the Premier League.

He would have been forgiven for thinking at the end of the 2020-21 season he may have been finished in the top flight but former Everton manager Silva’s arrival in July 2021 changed everything.

‘Of course, I wouldn’t say, “No, I wasn’t thinking that way…”,’ the centre-back tells Metro. ‘I was 33 when we were relegated and you think, “Is this it? Are you coming towards the end?” I thought it very well could be.

Fulham coach Marco Silva
Fulham coach
Marco Silva
Marco Silva
His Wiki page
‘But now I’m feeling rejuvenated and a few weeks into last season I thought, “We can definitely do this again (win promotion)” and I wanted to be part of that.

‘Doubts always creep in after a long, hard, unsuccessful, unfulfilling season like the one before that but it’s nothing a good couple of weeks away couldn’t sort.’

In fact, Ream feels he has been playing some of the best football of his long career – which has also taken in Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls and Bolton – as he has got older.

‘Since those early weeks of last season, I have been playing at a good level, the best I’ve felt and played in close to 11 years in England,’ he says.

Silva is the man behind the revival. That summer of 2021 was crucial to Ream’s career. He was at a crossroads when the current Craven Cottage boss replaced Scott Parker, under whom he had played little following promotion.

‘Everybody wants that feeling from their boss, right? That feeling that your boss believes in you and has confidence in you no matter your age or performances,’ Ream adds. ‘To have that completely changes your mindset and outlook and that doesn’t change at 35.’

A new man at the top benefited Ream hugely and he has not looked back. ‘For me it was the best thing and perfect timing,’ he says of Silva’s arrival. ‘From the first day he walked in it’s been fun. He’s brought joy and fun back to my game and also has that hard work ethic too.’

And Ream believes although Fulham’s last two Premier League sojourns have ended in immediate relegation, this time it is different.

‘We have a group now who have learned from those experiences,’ he explains.

‘We’ve learnt from what didn’t work and have a confidence and belief in ourselves that can’t be understated. We have trust in the guys in the changing room and you can see that on a daily basis.

‘You respect everyone but you fear no one, that’s how I’d put it. We know what our squad is capable of.’

How far that can take them after promotion remains to be seen but the Cottagers’ start to life back at the top table has been so impressive they sit a giddy seventh in the table ahead of the visit from a resurgent Everton team tomorrow, three points off fourth place after back-to-back victories over Leeds and Aston Villa.

‘We know a good start will, and has, put us in a very strong position and we want to keep that up,’ adds St Louis-born Ream.

‘Everyone picks who they think (will go down) – that’s the world of sport – but it’s refreshing not to be in that conversation among ourselves and not have those lingering doubts about who we are or why we’re here.’

The difference this time around appears to be the mindset. Silva believes in his players and they in turn feel they belong at Premier League level.

‘Even where results have not gone the way we wanted, there’s not really any panic,’ Ream insists. ‘No overly negative feelings. We’ve always come in positive to training the next day. A loss isn’t bringing the team down.’

January will mark 11 years since Ream crossed the Atlantic, joining Bolton and then heading to west London in 2015. He may even see himself as a bit of an honorary Englishman after all this time.

‘I’m not sure about that but when I go home, people say I have an English accent now and when I’m over here, people say it’s an American accent,’ he jokes. ‘My kids were all born here so I guess I have made it my home.’

He works out he has played under 11 different managers since leaving the States, without mentioning the three promotions and two relegations. ‘It has been a real rollercoaster,’ Ream continues. ‘There are ups and downs, you won’t be up all the time or down all the time in a career.

‘But you have to ride it and it’s been quite the journey. An enjoyable ride for sure. Coming over here was a decision I do not regret in any way.’

And Ream has not given up hope his Indian summer will earn him a place in the USA’s squad for Qatar.

He has not played for his country this calendar year but says: ‘I have put the World Cup and the national team out of my mind and focused on my performances at club level.

‘Whatever happens, happens. I know they (the US) are always monitoring and there’s nothing concrete but that’s okay. It’s a nice pressure release not to have that on your shoulders.’

Ream could yet be living the dream for club and country this season.

Source Matthew Nash at Metro
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