Fulham boss Hodgson supports goal-hero Zamora

LONDON: Fulham manager Roy Hodgson insisted Bobby Zamora will prove his critics wrong after the much-maligned striker inspired a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Former West Ham and Tottenham star Zamora has had to endure the taunts of Fulham fans unhappy with his contribution since his five million pounds move from Upton Park last year.

Zamora has scored just 10 times in his time at Craven Cottage and has been criticised on the internet and at matches by a section of the Fulham support.

But he underlined his value to Hodgson's team with the goal that sunk Sunderland on Sunday and took the opportunity to show his frustration at the rough treatment by aiming an angry gesture at Fulham's fans as he celebrated.

Zamora certainly has the support of his manager and Hodgson said: "Maybe he reads too many of these blogs that people write in to.

"Our fans in the Hammersmith end actually constantly chant his name. But these people who write into the club's blogs, they're the real experts and they want something that he's not been able to give them - 30 goals a year. But he has been a key player for us."

Hodgson was so keen to back Zamora that he even claimed the striker could win a place in Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup.

Trinidad and Tobago have sounded out Zamora about playing for them but he is still eligible for England if Capello calls on the 28-year-old.

Hodgson added: "Heskey is a very powerful player, a very willing player and a hard working player. Bobby is more technical.

"It was quite interesting being on a panel with Terry Venables the other day, discussing World Cup squads. He's got experience of that from Euro 96 and me from the World Cup.

"You could also make a case for one or two more unusual selections, players who maybe have something a little bit extra. He was talking about Ledley King.

"If you perpetuated that argument, you might come up with an argument for someone like a Bobby Zamora, the type of player who we don't have too many like in the English Premiership."

Zamora's goal, a header from John Pantsil's cross, arrived in the seventh minute and Sunderland rarely threatened to equalise.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce said: "It was disappointing. In the second half, we had a response. But the first half was not good enough.

"We've got to do something away from home to get this monkey off our backs. But you won't win a game in the Premier League if you play like we did in the first half.

"I don't remember a side this Jekyll and Hyde, and it's pretty alarming. I'll have to do something about it. We had thousands here, and thousands at Wigan, and we're not doing enough."