Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
|Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:41 am Post subject: Fuller anxious for Premiership to begin
|BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer
Sunday, June 08, 2008
The 28-year-old former Tivoli Gardens player is coming off his best professional season where he scored 15 goals to help Stoke City return to top-flight football after 23 years.
A confident, mature Fuller, who spoke to the Sunday Observer during a recent one-week training camp at Grand Lido Braco Hotel in Trelawny, said the club met its target by finishing second in the Championships and earning promotion.
"This was what we set out for... and we managed to finish second," he said while describing last season as "unbelievable and incredible for us and for Stoke City FC, not being in the Premier League for 23 years, this is a great achievement".
He also thinks he did well, reeling off a list of achievements including leading the team with 15 goals; being named in the Championship team of the season; being named best player by the fans of Stoke City; scoring the goal of the season for Stoke; and winning several listeners and viewers choice awards.
The elegant striker said he is eager to start playing in the premiership where he will match skills with some of the best players in the world.
"Oh yes for sure I am excited," he said. "That's the place where every player... in the lower divisions... wants to be. They all want to be in the top league and test their skills and potential and be among the best players in the game" he said.
With two English clubs reaching the Champions League final, Fuller said "arguably the EPL is the best league in the world... and with Stoke being there I will be able to test my skills and potential against these players, but the first thing will be to try and keep Stoke in the league".
"I've had bad luck with injuries, which has been one of my main setbacks," he said of last season. "No disrespect to Stoke or Preston or any other club, but I've worked really hard to be where I am at and I always try my best... I take each day a step at a time, and whether or not it is in training or game I always try to give everything I have every single time."
Since leaving Tivoli in 2001, Fuller has played for Crystal Palace, Hearts of Scotland, Preston, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town before joining Stoke in 2006. "People forget the injuries and setbacks," he said, pointing out that "if it was not for my determination and self will maybe I would have quit a long time ago, so people have to give credit where it is due."
The lanky Jamaican, who went into training camp after taking a two-week break after the end of the English season, said he is confident the national team will do well in the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
In endorsing the squad selected by technical director, Rene Simoes, Fuller believes it will generate positive competition for places.