Rank: 4 | Age: 35 | Appearances: 24 | Minutes: 1,717 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 2
An amazing career that is surely approaching its conclusion yet continues to provide the class and grit that we’ve come to love, Scott Parker was one of the best players to wear the white and black for Fulham this past season.
Parker joined the Cottagers in the summer of 2013, signing a three-year contract after spending his previous six seasons in London with West Ham and Tottenham. He immediately inserted into our Premier League lineup, becoming a cog in the middle of the pitch and serving as one of the bright spots in what was a season we are better off forgetting. Since our drop to the Championship, Scott has maintained his high level of play, sporting a vigorous work-rate and tenacious style of play in his usual holding midfield role.
But, with age usually comes injury, and our captain was unable to avoid its clutches, injuring his ankle near the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
Due to his injury, Scotty wouldn’t log his first senior team minutes until late November, the 18th league match of the season. Frequently rested during mid-week matches to help offset the grueling schedule that comes with being in the Championship, Parker would play in Fulham’s final 13 matches, starting 12 of them. His inclusion down the final stretch was paramount in ensuring the Whites’ position within the league for next season. When it became apparent that we were going to endure yet another relegation battle, he was the captain we needed to help us pull through.
I could rattle off a list of stats about Scott’s season, but he has never been the type of guy that stuffs the stat sheet. What he’s known for are the immeasurable actions such as goal-saving tackles, clutch blocks, maintain possession, and the overall intangibles he brings to the side that makes him so valuable. His vast wealth of experience and and leadership abilities make him a vital piece within the team. As can be seen in the video below, his teammates couldn’t agree more:
2016/17 Best Case:
In early May the club was able to ink Scott to a one-year extension, and although this is said seemingly every preseason lately, I believe this will truly be his last. With that being said, we can expect him to give everything he has, like he’s always done when stepping onto the pitch. I foresee a similar playing schedule for Scott as last season, resting on choice midweek matches to allow for fitness recovery. When playing he will surely be found in the center of the park in his usual holding midfield role, directing and leading by example. For the younger players like Ryan Tunnicliffe, Lasse Vigen Christensen, and others that play a similar position as Scott, I hope they are learning from and utilizing the immense amount of advice that can be gained by playing alongside him. As a team with many young faces, this is a way Parker can help in paving the way for the new generation of Fulham players.
It has been speculated that coaching is in Scott’s future, something that he himself has acknowledged as well. Given his long and successful career, we can only hope that he decides to provide his services to Fulham upon his retirement from playing, and that the club is smart enough to offer him such a position.
In final, he may be old and he may have lost a step or two over the past few seasons, but he’s our engine, our captain, and I am very thankful he will be with us as we kick off the 2016/17 season.