x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pantsil wants to make up for lost time

The Fulham full-back returned to the team against Everton last week after four months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

LONDON // As Fulham face a 60th game of an epic season today against West Ham, Roy Hodgson could well be forgiven for deciding to rest many of the players who have made him so proud, even if it is against a club that complained when he did the same against Hull last month. But with the Europa League final to come and the Hammers now safe from relegation, Hodgson is eager to rest weary legs and minds.

Bobby Zamora will definitely miss the meeting against his former club as he rests an Achilles injury. But John Pantsil, who was signed in a double deal with his goal-scoring teammate from today's opponents two years ago, does not want to miss any more matches. The Fulham full-back, who returned to the team against Everton last week after four months on the sidelines with a knee injury, hopes to make up for lost time.

The Ghanaian also has this summer's World Cup in mind as he said: "I want to play against West Ham and in every game and I have to go all out to do my best. "Every player's dream is to play in the World Cup. I played once, but I was worried I might not play in this one. To know it is there pushes you to come back. With the Europa League final as well, I think I have come back at the right time." Pantsil said it had been frustrating to watch his teammates as they have enjoyed such highs, particularly in Europe, beating sides such as Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg.

So he made sure he savoured Thursday's result against Hamburg with a couple of laps of honour in front of joyous supporters at Craven Cottage. "It was a special moment so I wanted to enjoy it," added Pantsil. "I was always happy for the team, but you feel: 'I wish could be out there and play my part'. "It was the best night of my career, but I hope I can help the team win it and then do well at the World Cup."

akhan@thenational.ae