Optimistic Brian McBride appointed Fulham captain

English Premier League club Fulham has named American Brian McBride as its captain for the 2007-08 season that starts on Sunday against London rival Arsenal.

The 35-year-old McBride is beginning his fifth season with the Cottagers. He was their leading scorer in 2006-07 with nine EPL goals.

McBride was popular with former Fulham manager Chris Coleman, but Lawrie Sanchez, who replaced Coleman at the end of last season, showed his respect for McBride by naming him captain. McBride replaced Michael Brown, who was sold to Wigan.

Last year, Fulham slumped to 16th place, only point point out of relegation. Its lack of scoring at home contributed to its poor showing.

Fulham spent $25 million on help for McBride up front by signing Senegalese Diomansy Kamara from West Bromwich for $16 million, Algerian Hameur Bouazza from Watford for $6 million, and Northern Ireland international David Healy for $3 million from Leeds United.

"I think we're confident that we have a good team," McBride told the Daily Mail recently. "You never know how it's going to be played out, but I think the only thing we can concentrate on is making sure we have the right attitude going into the season. I think as a team we need to perform better than we did last season. The coach has stressed many different things to us and if we grasp those things and play together then we're confident of a good season. It's down to us, to everybody involved in the dressing room. You can never say for sure but we're optimistic."

Claudio Reyna (Sunderland) is believed to be the only other American to captain a Premier League club.

 

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