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Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli fit again

last updated Saturday 03rd August 2019, 1:34 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli
Fulham keeper
Marcus Bettinelli
Marcus Bettinelli
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It has not been an easy year for Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli.

A season that promised so much turned into a painful one as the club were relegated and the goalkeeper underwent knee surgery.

"Football can be a cruel game," said Bettinelli after being restored as the club's No1 by Scott Parker.

“I do not think anyone enjoyed last season and it is sad, really, because we came into the league with a lot of hope and momentum. I never want to experience that again."

Fulham signed two new goalkeepers - Sergio Rico and Fabri - on the eve of last season and Bettinelli was left out of the squad for their opening-day clash with Crystal Palace.

But he kept his head down, got back in the team and even earned a first England call-up last September. A month later he was rewarded with a new Fulham contract but soon after he was dropped for Sergio Rico.

Then in February he had knee surgery that meant he missed the rest of the campaign as Fulham were relegated.

“It was obviously tough to take when the club signed two goalkeepers last summer,” says Bettinelli. “It was hard because I feel like I had done enough to keep my spot and I am sure there were a lot of lads who felt the same as I did after doing well in the Championship.

“I got into the team and when I look back now would I have done anything differently? Probably not. I do not feel like I deserved to get pulled out of the team.

"I got some criticism for the amount of goals we conceded but as the season went on it was plain and clear that you could have had David De Gea and Manuel Neuer, or both of them at the same time, and we still would have conceded goals.

“I went and saw former manager Slavisa Jokanovic. He was a good person. He said he did not think I had been playing that badly but he wanted to try and get a reaction from the team after three or four defeats. Did I feel it was unfair at the time? Yeah, of course I did.

"Did I feel it was unfair I did not get a chance under Claudio Ranieri? Yeah, of course I did.

“But everything happens for a reason and it is in the past now. I am just looking forward to this season and trying to get back to the Premier League where we should be.”

Fit again after knee surgery and back as Fulham’s No1, he is now ready to get his career back on track after a difficult 12 months.

Bettinelli will be first-choice again this season under Parker. Fulham have allowed Sergio Rico to return to Sevilla after his loan spell last season and Fabri is expected to leave before the transfer window closes.

“I have been crying out for a season like this since 2014-15," said Bettinelli, who will start at Barnsley tomorrow, with Marek Rodak set to be back-up.

"This will be the first time I have ever started the first game of the season. It is nice to know Scotty believes in me.

“As soon as Scotty took over last season you could feel a change at the club. There is a different feeling of pride now and wanting to win games like the year we went up. For a long time this club has had this sloppy mentality and last season it all kind of fell apart.

"It is a different feeling and a different mentality in the dressing room now.”

As well as helping Fulham get back to the Premier League, Bettinelli wants an England recall.

“It is something I never thought I would achieve,” he says. “Jack Butland played in the Championship last season and he got in the squad, but at the same time I am realistic and I know to get into the squad you have to be playing in the Premier League and playing well.

“There are a lot of good England goalkeepers, Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are back from injury, Joe Hart, Dean Henderson has gone to Sheffield United, Angus Gunn at Southampton. It was nice to be involved last season but I want to be involved again and stay there.

"It is not about just getting called up, I want to go and play for England and get a cap.”

Source Giuseppe Muro at Evening Standard
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