Fulham - The Team; Brede Hangeland
So, today, I continue with my article regarding each and every member of what is now, a rather common starting 11. After voicing my opinion on his partner, Northern Irish centre back Aaron Hughes, it is time for Brede Hangeland to take to the hot-seat.
Our Texas born, yet Norwegian centre back has drawn many a plaudit over the course of not only this season, but the back end of the last. Touted as a plausible top 4 defender, the tall centre back is still currently enjoying his football at the Cottage, although there are doubts whether he will stay beyond this summer. Having been signed for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the £2million pound bracket, he is seen as one of the best purchases anywhere in recent years. Credit goes to Roy Hodgson for another master class in the transfer market. The 6 foot 5 centre back strolled in to Craven Cottage in January 2008, to help our fight for survival in the English Premier Division. A feat which he helped to achieve.
Gladly though, the summer of 2008 passed without much of a sniff from other clubs, and he is still playing in white, and whilst I speak of the transfer issues that surround the lad, I can't help but think that we wouldn't be sitting pretty in 8th without him. Yes, yes, yes, a team cannot revolve around one player, but just think about the amount of 'deadly' crosses that only he could have the ability to head clear. Think about the amount of 'killer' through balls Hangeland never ending legs have snuffed out. Think about the 'fearsome' shots Brede has bravely thrown himself in front of. I would go as far as to say we would be 10 goals or so worse off than we are now if it wasn't for him. Just imagine 2 Hughes' at the back, trying to reach the high crosses. It would be pretty calamitous, and quite amusing too I would think. But Hughes can be spared the embarrassment thanks to Mr. Hangeland.
Forgetting his defensive attributes now, I am actually amazed by Brede's ability to pass the ball with such precision and prowess. He knows what he is doing when it comes to playing the ball around, which is just bliss to have in a centre back. On top of that, he is a composed defender, something which can't be said about many centre backs at his sort of height. Not many mistakes are seen coming from him.
However, I feel obliged to at least think up one negative thing regarding the Norwegians footballing ability. I am writing this solely to save the remainder of the side getting jealous, and therefore declaring mutiny. We wouldn't want that now would we?
I was watching Match of the Day a while ago, and it came to my attention that Ryan Shawcross was a real dab hand with the old corner, always getting up and dinking in a wonderfully placed header. Why can't Hangeland do that? Now, don't get me wrong here, I realise it is not the role of a centre back to score goals, but it sure would come in handy. He manages to win the headers, but they never seem to cause any trouble at-all, and if you ask me it's a confidence thing. As soon as he gets a headed goal, they will start flying in. I just hope he is still by the Thames when that happens!