Scott Parker's Move to Fulham a Last Shot to Make the World Cup
For the former Spurs man, it will be seen as a move to secure regular first-team football after he lost his place at his old club, but there is every chance he will have a second motivation too: making the World Cup squad for next summer's tournament.
Following a number of injuries during a disrupted 2012-13 season, Parker made only 21 league appearances, with only eight of those outings seeing him play the full 90 minutes. All of his appearances came from mid December onward after having recovered from an Achilles problem in particular.
To Sandro and Moussa Dembele, already established as Spurs' first-choice midfielders, the North London club have added Paulinho and Lewis Holtby in the last two transfer windows, leaving Parker—along with fellow England international midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore—well down the list of starters, and on their way out of White Hart Lane.
A move to QPR was expected to materialise, but having won the Football Writers' Player of the Year award for the Premier League only two years ago, Parker was clearly set on staying in the top flight ahead of a World Cup year.
In moving to Fulham, Parker will be an integral part of a newly revamped team, albeit one which is still a fairly old one.
Manager Martin Jol has made seven senior signings in total this summer, though only Parker and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg have cost any significant sums of money.
For Parker, the most telling signing is likely to be fellow midfielder Derek Boateng, who Jol will hope can work alongside Parker to provide a much more solid midfield base for the Cottagers.
Parker brings industry, workrate, a conscientious approach to winning back the ball and a bustling, energetic tempo to the game. Boateng is a physical yet technical midfielder, good at both holding his position defensively and distributing the ball. If the two can click as a pairing, Fulham have the foundations to let the likes of Darren Bent, Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz create danger further forward.
Will Parker win his spot in the England World Cup squad?
The new Fulham man will need to have a stellar campaign though if he is to return to the England fold.
Roy Hodgson looks set to continue with two central midfielders for the foreseeable future, with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere almost certain squad members for next summer's tournament, should the nation qualify.
That leaves one, perhaps two spots to fill for the remaining competing players, of which Parker will be one. Gareth Barry, Jordan Henderson, Michael Carrick and Jack Rodwell might all be others.
Moving from Spurs to Fulham takes Parker out of the group of bigger clubs competing for honours and European football, but it also gives him a far better chance of playing 35 matches between now and next summer.
He'll have to be at the top of his game and stay fit if he is to make the squad for England—but for now, the prospect of merely being a regular, relied-upon player in a Premier League will be enough for Parker to go on.
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