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Kamara desperate to retain his place at Fulham

last updated Friday 02nd February 2018, 6:42 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara
Fulham striker
Aboubakar Kamara
Aboubakar Kamara
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Aboubakar Kamara may not have realised it at the time but he proved he was ready for the battle of English football when he upended a three-time Premier League champion.

Having been promoted to train with the Monaco first team, 18-year-old rookie Kamara came up against former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho in a practice match.

The intrepid youngster put in a challenge so robust that it left the Portuguese star on the deck and was deemed a foul by coach Leonardo Jardim on the touchline.

Yet an impressed Carvalho congratulated the kid striker on his fearless approach and insisted play should continue.

Now, four years on and at Fulham, powerhouse Kamara is bullying Championship defences with his physical style of play and on a run of five goals in his last five league games.

The French forward, 22, said in his first interview with an English newspaper: “Everyone really encouraged me at Monaco and wanted me to do well there. It was a really good environment.

“There was one situation in training where I came up against Carvalho and tackled him. The coach at the time said it was a foul.

“But Carvalho laughed, got up and played on. He said, ‘Well done, carry on like this’.

“I didn’t know at that point that English football’s physicality would suit me.

“But when I started going up the ranks at Monaco, people started saying to me that I had a style suited to the English game.”

When you meet Kamara, you see why he is suited to the rough-and-ready second tier in this country.

Although not the tallest at just under 5ft 10in, he has a well-built frame that even the most powerful of defenders would struggle to contain.

Perhaps that desire not to be pushed around comes from being the youngest of an incredible TWENTY brothers and sisters.

Kamara has so many siblings he was not even sure of that figure exactly, nor how old the eldest was — estimating “about 50”. His mum was a cleaner and his dad worked in a hospital when he was growing up and there are no fellow professional footballers in his family.

When asked from where he gets his talents for the beautiful game, the former Amiens star replied through a translator: “Maybe it comes from when I was very young.

“I used to play against older people from my estate and that might have given me my push to develop.

“I don’t like to lose. I was one of the better players in my age group so whenever the older players needed a player they would call upon me and I would get annoyed when they lost.

“I’m the youngest in my family. Some of my brothers and sisters live in Paris, some live other places. Some work, some don’t. Everyone has their own life.

“Football is a job like any other. They encourage me to follow my passion and make the most of it. No one envisaged me becoming a professional footballer.

“I started taking it seriously later on in my development but never really thought it would get to this stage until I was at Monaco.”

Kamara only made two first-team substitute appearances for Monaco in the 2014-15 season having come through the club’s academy, before moving to Belgium outfit Kortrijk.

But he learnt a lot during his time in Monte Carlo, playing and training alongside current Premier League stars Anthony Martial, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva, as well as former Fulham magician Dimitar Berbatov.

Kamara, whose boyhood hero was former Marseille striker Mamadou Niang, added: “It was a good period. When you’re a young player and you go up to the senior side and see them play, it’s inspiring.

“When you train with them for the first two or three times, you realise how good they are. Then when you become used to training with them you realise you could be at a good level.

“You’ve always got to believe you can get better. I’m only 22. Who would have thought when I was 16 that at 22 I would be here?”

The £5million summer signing is rapidly improving after a tough first half to the season.

And he will be desperate to remain a key part of Slavisa Jokanovic’s team despite the deadline-day arrival of Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Nottingham Forest, the Cottagers hotshot added: “Have I shown the real Aboubakar Kamara recently? I don’t really know.

“But if I’m showing good potential now it’s because it takes a bit of time and the team is doing well at the moment.

“It was tough here to begin with, I’m not going to lie. It was hard, the first five or six games, because I didn’t really know the Championship.

“Once I got to grips with it and learnt a bit more, how to deal with defenders, I’ve become more accustomed to the English game and I think you’ve seen that more recently.”

Source Tom Barclay at The Sun
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