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Frustrated Dempsey 'Busting Butt' To Regain Fulham Spot
ESPN Soccernet, September 23rd, 2008 1:30PM

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U.S. national team striker Clint Dempsey was top scorer last season at English Premier League side Fulham with six goals. This season he's spent the last three games with his rear firmly on the bench, but during the week he's "busting" that same part of his anatomy trying to regain his place on the team.

"Every time I go to training ... what I'm trying to do is better myself and help the team," Dempsey told Ravi Ubha. "I'm busting my butt trying to get a spot. It's definitely been frustrating. The coach that's here now is not the coach that brought me in, and I've had three coaches in a year and a half. So it's been difficult when each [coach] comes along, just trying to prove to them that I deserve to be on the field. I felt during my time here that I've shown that I can play at this level."

"Stats don't lie," said Dempsey of his six strikes in 36 games (29 starts) last season. Maybe not, but they're open to interpretation. His replacement, attacking midfielder and Hungarian international Zoltan Gera, has already scored twice in five games, a much higher strike rate than Dempsey's in 2007-08.

"When I was here when [current manager Roy Hodgson] first came, my spot was given away," Dempsey said. "I fought hard to win the spot back, and at the end of the season, I helped be a part of keeping the team up. Then when I came back for preseason I felt like my spot was already given away because there was a new player [Gera] brought into my position." Asked if he thinks he'll get an opportunity soon, Dempsey replied, "No." But he pledged to continue working hard, while playing for the U.S. made him "feel like you're appreciated...[which] is always a good thing as a player."

 

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