Hughes hails Bobby dazzler
"Not just about goals" says Northern Ireland defender
By Danny Wright. Last Updated: December 7, 2009 4:53pm
Hughes: Backing Zamora
Aaron Hughes has become the latest man to give his backing to striker Bobby Zamora, saying his team-mate is a vital to the Fulham cause.
Zamora has come under fire from sections of the Fulham support for not scoring enough goals, but Hughes joined manager Roy Hodgson in hailing the efforts of the under-pressure striker.
The 28-year-old bagged his sixth goal of the season in the 1-0 win over Sunderland and vented his frustration towards those in the Craven Cottage crowd that have criticised his goal-scoring record.
And Hughes - who has over a decade's experience in the Premier League - said Zamora provided a crucial service in leading the line.
"For a striker, it's not just about his goals," said the Northern Ireland defender. "His all-round play, his movement off the ball and his hold-up play creates space and chances for others. He's a big, massive part of our squad.
"When he's not in the squad we miss him. Players come in and do other jobs but Bobby does it so well. He's a vital part of our team."
Zamora's displays have helped lift Fulham to eighth in the table and have put the Cottagers on the verge of progressing to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
The former West Ham striker looks rejuvenated under Hodgson's leadership, having scored just twice in 35 outings last season.
Hodgson has been so impressed with his form that he hinted the former England under-21 international could make the grade for the senior team.
His recent form could not have come at a better time with the World Cup finals in South Africa fast approaching.
Hughes echoed his manger's remarks by insisting Zamora is as tough as any striker in England - putting him in contention to take Emile Heskey's berth as England's premier target man.
Hughes added: "I train against him every day, he's a big, strong guy and you know if you're going in for a 50-50 the chances are he'll get the better of you because of his physical presence."