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Sean Davis plays better when booed

last updated Friday 29th October 2004, 9:08 AM
Despite captaining the national Under-21 side, Sean Davis has all but given up hope of winning a full international cap and will instead focus on his club career.

It is a surprisingly pessimistic stance for a player who less than two years ago won a call-up for the friendly against Australia and was tipped as a future England star by Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip. But the 25-year-old insists he is simply being realistic, given the level of competition in Eriksson's midfield.

Davis said: "I do not think I am going to get a chance as there are quite a lot of players in my position. There's Frank Lampard, Nicky Butt, Steven Gerrard, Jermaine Jenas and Kieron Dyer in front of me.

"Owen Hargreaves gets in the squad even though he doesn't play for his club and there is also Scott Parker, who in my view should be playing with Frank in the centre of Chelsea's midfield. I think if I was going to be involved with England it would have happened a lot sooner."

The former Fulham player's cause was not helped by a knee ligament injury which sidelined him for the first half of last season, but he refuses to use that as an excuse for being overlooked.

He added: "I missed the first three months through the knee problem but played enough after that to get noticed. It was a great experience getting in the squad for the Australia game [in February 2003] and I was a bit disappointed not to play. Now I don't think my chance will come along again."

But while Davis's combative displays for Fulham failed to register with Eriksson, they were brought to the attention of another Scandinavian, who had become sporting director at Spurs.

On Frank Arnesen's recommendation, the north Londoners splashed out £3million in July to end the Lambeth- born player's eightyear stint at Fulham. Davis, who joined Fulham as a trainee in 1996, said: "If Tottenham had not come in for me I would still be playing for Fulham.

"They had offered me a new contract which I was going to sign until I heard about the interest from Spurs.

"But when the chance came I knew it was the right time to go. Spurs are a massive club and the crowd are fantastic. We play in front of 36,000 most weeks, whereas at Fulham it was never really more than 20,000.

"I really enjoyed my time at Fulham. I played in all four divisions and have some great memories.

"Chris Coleman is a good friend of mine and I did feel a bit bad about letting him down.

"I know it might have upset a few people there, but I had been there a long time and it was a chance for me to move on and improve myself. After discussing the move with my family I knew I was making the right decision.

"I still hope Fulham do well and I'm sure they will. They have a great manager and I have tremendous respect for all the staff."

There was a feeling among Fulham fans that Davis was on borrowed time last season. The previous summer he issued a transfer request, and a £5m move to Everton collapsed only because of his knee problems.

This perceived show of disloyalty will not do him any favours in the eyes of home fans on his return to the Cottage with Spurs tomorrow, but Davis insists he is unperturbed.

He said: "I am looking forward to going back. I play better when people boo me. They booed Louis Saha when he went back with Manchester United so they will probably boo me. But I don't really care.

"I am really enjoying it at Spurs. It is a fresh start for everyone here, considering all the changes that took place over the summer. With Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Freddie Kanoute, we've always got a chance of scoring, while Jamie Redknapp is fantastic in midfield.

"We started off well and are still in the top half of the table. Hopefully we can push on for Europe, which is where Tottenham belong."

After playing the first month of the season, Davis suffered another knee injury - unrelated to the previous problem - which ruled him out until this week. But he made Jacques Santini's starting line-up for the midweek Carling Cup victory over Bolton and is expected to keep his place tomorrow.

Source Evening Standard by Raoul Simons
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