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Whither David Stockdale?

02 September 2010

Stay healthy, Mark. There's no one else available.

** Update: This could be Fulham’s backup keeper should Stockdale be out. Neil Etheridge is a 20-year-old, England-raised Filipino who played for England’s U-16s but now has been capped three times by the Philippines’ senior national team. The scant information available on him paints him as promising. Hope Schwarzer stays healthy. Interesting roster gambit by Mark Hughes.

Fulham’s young goalkeeper has had an eventful first month of the season, going from nondescript backup to starter in the wake of Mark Schwarzer’s “injury”/transfer holdout to a callup for England’s first two Euro 2012 qualifiers.

He’s had to beg off the callup, though, due to a mysterious ankle injury that he apparently suffered against Blackpool and supposedly could keep him out of action for up to 10 weeks.

Various blogs and other second-source news stories have similar accounts as this:

“Ankle ligament damage has already denied Stockdale his first involvement with the national side – the Fulham goalkeeper fears he could be absent for up to two months having only just broken into the first team at Craven Cottage”

This is odd, since you’d think the recent goalkeeper transfer carousel saga would make this a fairly notable story, worthy of its own newser. It became even stranger when Fulham released its 25-man roster yesterday and the only senior keepers listed on it were Schwarzer and Stockdale. Aging reserve keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler is not on the squad sheet, which means he’s ineligible for Premiership play until at least Jan. 1.

So, in other words, Fulham went from the brink of selling Schwarzer to now having him as the only healthy senior goalkeeper on the roster? Assumedly with one of the team’s Under-21 reserves as the backup? That doesn’t sound like a very foolproof plan, especially if Schwarzer actually has been nursing some kind of back issue to go with his ego bruise.

I’ll have to do some more digging to see what the rules are concerning goalkeepers with the new roster restrictions. I don’t want to see Fulham have to mimic Man City from last season and have to make an emergency loan for someone because their only other option is some 19-year-old from Andorra.

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