Mar 22 2013 By Yann Tear
MARTIN Jol insist he is not disappointed by the failure of any of his ‘young brigade’ to nail down a regular first-team spot this season.
On his arrival at Fulham, the Dutchman set great store by his desire to infuse an ageing team with youth, and the season started with high hopes for Alex Kacaniklic, Matthew Briggs and Pajtim Kasami.
But the gifted Kacaniklic has gone out on loan again to Burnley and Briggs is at Watford, having been farmed out to a succession of clubs, while Kasami has been shuffled off to Lucerne in Switzerland.
Ironically, only last week Jol expressed his fear of being low on numbers, saying: “I don’t want to be in a situation of being short of players. I don’t want to take any risks, so it’s better to have more players than less players.”
Even more galling for them is they have effectively been replaced by a fresh influx of loan players in January – Urby Emanuelson, Eyong Enoh and Stanislav Manolev – and it is clear the big success stories have been experienced newcomers Sascha Riether and Giorgos Karagounis.
But the Whites boss says we should not read too much into that.
“No, I’m not disappointed with these youngsters,” he said.
“Kaka [Kacaniklic] I felt did ever so well for example, and it is not a matter of being disappointed.
“I’m very pleased with him and he will probably be the number one in the future in that position.
“But I had Damien Duff playing there, who was maybe a bit more productive.
“If you look at Damien’s stats as well, they are better – seven assists and three goals. Kaka was good, but you need assists.”
Jol added: “I would say, though, that he’s young and Briggs is the same. I’ve got John Arne Riise, but I’ve also got Kieran Richardson, so he [Briggs] needs games.
“It’s an opportunity for other managers when they call and say, ‘Please give me Briggs,’ and by helping them, we help ourselves.”