While many Fulham fans are starving to see their team return to action this weekend, plenty of players were not getting that much of a break. In fact, many players at senior and youth level went on to the international break representing their respective countries in multiple Friendlies and International Tournament Qualifiers.
Even though Fulham are a Championship side that is still trying to build their way back up to promotion candidates, the list below is a great indicator for how much progress the club has made as a collective squad since this summer’s transfer window came to a close. Let’s take a look at how each player performed for their National Teams since the 1-0 win over Blackburn.
Neeskans Kebano (D.R. Congo)
Chris Martin (Scotland)
Stefan Johansen (Norway)
Ragnar Sigurdsson (Iceland)
Tomas Kalas (Czech Republic)
George Williams (Wales)
Jesse Joronen (Finland)
Kevin McDonald (Scotland)
Among the members of Fulham’s first team to play for their countries this past week, Neeskans Kebano arguably enjoyed the most success. His goal in the 36th minute was the first in a 4-1 win for the Democratic Republic of Congo over the Central African Republic in African Cup of Nations Qualifying. As a result, Congo will be a part of 16-team tournament that will start on January 17th.
However, Kebano was not the only one that performed well for his country. In his ninth cap, Chris Martin would score his second ever goal for Scotland for his side’s 5-1 win over Malta to begin World Cup qualifying. Hopefully for Fulham fans, this is the start of a strong scoring record for both club and country.
Not everything was rosy for every Fulham player. Newly signed Stefan Johansen was involved in a rough series of results while playing for Norway. The former Celtic midfielder played the full 90 minutes of a 1-0 friendly defeat to Belarus while being substituted in the 67th minute while being captain of a 3-0 World Cup Qualifying loss to Germany.
Meanwhile, Ragnar Sigurdsson may not have hit the same heights as he did when he scored against England in this summer’s Euros, but he played the full 90 minutes in Iceland’s 1-1 draw with Ukraine.
Tomas Kalas would earn his fourth cap for the Czech Republic by playing the entire second half of their 3-0 friendly win over Armenia. The 23-year old would then go on to be an unused substitute in the World Cup Qualifier against Northern Ireland.
Considering Kevin McDonald’s reputation as a solid veteran central midfielder at the Championship, it’s amazing to see that he has never received a cap for Scotland. His chance could have come against Malta, but the 28-year old was among the many players that withdrew from Gordan Strachan’s squad to injury. We will see if this has any affect on his status for future Fulham matches.
Meanwhile, Jesse Joronen and the out-on-loan George Williams were unused substitutes in their country’s respective world cup qualifiers and friendlies.
Lasse Vigen Christensen (Denmark)
Sean Kavanagh (Ireland)
Mattias Kait (Estonia)
Marek Rodak (Slovakia)
The senior players are not the only ones getting massive results and accomplishments for their countries. One of Fulham’s young stars has been playing at the Under 21 level for so long, you often forget how much potential he still might have to develop. Lasse Vigen Christensen certainly has had his critics since his hamstring injuries in the beginning of 2015, but people tend to forget the vast amount of experience he has been receiving in Youth International football.
The Dane might have not have been given a chance at the Olympics, but he ended up earning his 28th and 29th caps while captaining the Under-21s to two convincing wins over Wales and Romania this past week. If all data is as up to date as it can be on wikipedia, that puts Vigen Christensen in the top five most Capped Danish Under-21 players of all-time. Like fellow Under-21 cap “over-collector” James Milner, one would hope it is only a matter of time before the midfielder begins collecting tons of appearances at senior international level as well.
While Sean Kavanagh has been reduced to third choice at both fullback positions for Fulham, the same misfortune seems to be happening at the Ireland Under-21s. Despite being one of the most experienced call-ups on the squad with 10 Under-21 caps, Kavanagh not only didn’t play but he was also not on the bench for either of Ireland’s two European Championship qualifiers.
From Fulham’s PL2 team, Marek Rodak had a rough go while playing for Slovakia. The fourth choice goalkeeper played all 90 minutes for his country’s 3-0 loss to Germany in a September 2nd friendly followed by being a bench player in their 3-0 win over Cyprus in European Championship qualifying.
Lastly, at only 18 years old, Mattias Kait is getting some appearances at Estonia’s Under 21 level as he went on to play the full 90 minutes of his country’s 1-0 defeat to Georgia.
Atli Andrason (Iceland)
Tayo Edun (England)
Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson (Iceland)
As if Sigurdsson was the only Icelandic presence at Motspur Park, the newly acquired academy duo of Atli Andrason and Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson also represented the National Team, but this time, at the Under-19 level. While it is hard to find lineups and any other related data to specific matches, there was at least one source that confirmed that Andrason and Thorsteinsson were part of a squad that came out with a 2-1 win and a 0-0 draw with Wales over the last week.
As for Tayo Edun, the youngster played in both of England’s two matches against the Netherlands and Belgium. In their first game against the Oranje, Edun played for 80 minutes before being substituted without taking part in the win by penalty shootout. In England’s 1-0 loss to Belgium, the midfielder received less playing time by entering in the 75th minute for captain Tom Davies.
Dennis Adeniran (England)
Mikolaj Kwietniewski (Poland)
Dennis Adeniran continue to add to his collection of caps at England youth level by appearing in both games last week. He started and played for 60 minutes in England’s 2-1 win over Italy followed by playing as a second half substitute in their 5-1 win over Israel. On a more down note, Mikolaj Kwietniewski had to withdraw from playing for the Poland Under-18s due to injury. His side would lose all three of their games in the four nations tournament.
Luca Ashby-Hammond (England)
George Wickens (England)
Zico Asare (England)
According to youthawk.com, Fulham had three members from their academy represent England at the Under-16 level in two friendlies against Romania. Luca Ashby-Hammond was in goal for England’s first game, which resulted in a 3-1 victory. In the return leg that became a 2-1 defeat, George Wickens took over for Ashby-Hammond in goal while Zico Asare gave it a go at center back.