Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was left out of Slavisa Jokanovic’s opening day squad for their defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, just weeks after the 26-year-old is reported to have turned down moves to West Ham and Palace in a bid to stay and fight for his place at Craven Cottage.
The former England youth international is something of a fan-favourite in Putney, having conceded just 19 goals in the White’s stunning 23-game unbeaten run last season but with the new season getting underway last weekend, his boss decided to go with new recruit Fabri, rather than Bettinelli, putting the another new arrival, Sergio Rico, on the bench instead of Marcus.
Jokanovic had looked to explain his decision to drop Bettinelli by telling the press that the Camberwell-born stopper was injured, only for the man himself to take to Twitter before kick-off to inform fans that he was indeed fit and raring to go. It was a move that led to bemusement and in some cases anger, with Fabri’s display between the sticks hardly doing much to quell the sense of discontent on the banks of the Thames.
If anything, the selection of Sevilla loanee Sergio Rico on the bench should worry Bettinelli more, with the Spaniard being widely tipped to take over from Fabri once he is to speed with life in London. Having supposedly turned down moves to the both ourselves and the Hammers between May and August, Fulham’s former number one could well find himself dropped all the way down to third in the pecking order without an escape route if he stays put until the loan window closes.
Given Vicente Guaita’s arrival at Palace this summer, I’m personally struggling to see where we would have looked to fit Bettinelli in had he accepted the offer referenced in the article above. We still have Wayne Hennessey and an admittedly ageing Julian Speroni on our books, leaving question marks over what the Fulham man’s role would have been.
From the outside looking in, it seems crazy to drop the man who helped Fulham win promotion from the match-day squad on the opening weekend of the campaign but who am I to question the decisions of a Premier League manager?