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Strength in depth

A look at look at our squad players from the 5-2 defeat to Derby

Ian Walton

On my way to the League Cup clash against Derby, I couldn't help but chuckle when reading the paper on the train, there was a quote from Kit Symons saying he was going to put out a young team. Does he really have any choice? As it transpired the squad involved a lot more of last years U18's than the U21's who are making up the majority of our first eleven.

I always think Fulham should put more focus on both cup competitions; the team that won against Charlton was one brimming with confidence developing the beginnings of a winning mentality. I was expecting some changes to the starting 11, Hugo Rodallega was always going to be rested after picking up a knock and striker is the position we are probably strongest in. However, to see 8 changes was a surprise, but it gave us onlookers a chance to learn how deep a squad Kit has been left with.

It's hard to argue that a goalkeeper needs much rest, and Bettinelli surely needs as much experience as possible. It has become very clear Gabor Kiraly is not good enough back up, a bid was supposedly rejected to take Mark Schwazer back on loan but maybe this can be made to happen come January.

In defense, Shaun Hutchinson had a poor game at the back, he lacks pace and his decision making and reading of the game doesn't make up for it the way it can for Burn. Stephen Aurthorworrey actually impressed me the most of the two centre backs, he's obviously very green but shows all the attributes being strong, good in the air and no slouch, promising to be a quality defender in the future. I'm pleased he's gone out on loan, as games is what he needs now to develop. Sean Kavanagh despite his match winning goal against Norwich hasn't shown me enough to justify a starting place in the team. He is comfortable on the ball doing the basics but when he comes under pressure he seems to panic, I'm happy to have him as back up for Kostas Stafylidis though and could have a bright future. Tim Hoogland we know is our first choice right back, he looked tired against Derby and has since been rested but I'm sure he'll be back for Blackpool.

The midfield saw some big changes too, with Emerson Hyndman coming in, He is a man who always impresses me, he's tenacious good in the tackle and doesn't waste the ball. I think the obvious comparisons with our captain Scott Parker are why we haven't seen him starting more games. He is the perfect replacement for Parker however, and we'll certainly get to see more of his development over the season. Elsad Zverotic filled in as our defensive midfielder and started well with great energy and combativeness, though his distribution needs some work if he's going to play here again. Patrick Roberts is without question a star in the making, his skill is well documented and even at his tender age can tear apart defenses, I'm much happier seeing him come on to attack a tired defense than starting, at least until he gains the strength to go with his talent. Williams looks a real old fashioned winger, coming up from the U18's with Roberts last year, he is just as quick and direct, not so skillful but is strong enough to deal with those rash challenges that are inevitable. A start again against Wigan showed again he offers more width and attacking threat to the team and will hopefully continue to improve. This leaves us with Bryan Ruiz, it's fair to say he splits opinion and his display as captain against Derby left a lot to be desired. I personally think he's essential to our success this year, his experience and ability to spread the ball will win us games, but please Kit never make him captain again. His head went down as soon as Derby got their equalizer, and with such a young team around him looking to the captain for inspiration he needs to show some fight if he's going to take the armband once again.

Upfront Moussa Dembele was the real stand out for me, scoring twice and although gifted both chances you have to take what you're given. He's quick and strong with a great leap. He proved to be a constant threat to the defenseeven when 5-2 down, he was always looking for that 3rd goal. With Ross McCormack picking up a stupid red card against Wigan it could be his chance to impress again against Blackpool.

Although the result was disappointing, the performance from an incredibly young team was promising. With our key players back in the team, there's definitely hope going forward in both the short and long term, although with a few injuries in key roles we could be left very short. I will be looking at where we can improve and the type of players we need in an article shortly please let us know what you thought of our younger players in the comments.