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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 20 minutes ago
By ESPN Staff
Sep 8, 2006

Bullard could have England chance - Coleman

Chris Coleman believes Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard can only get better - and even force his way into the England squad.

The 27-year-old joined the Cottagers from Wigan at the start of the season, having impressed during the Latics' maiden Premiership campaign.

Bullard has scored two goals already this season, netting a dramatic last-minute penalty against Bolton and then hitting what proved to be the winner over Sheffield United before the international break.

Coleman believes if the one-time Gravesend player continues to show such consistency, there is no reason why he cannot press for further recognition.

'Jimmy finds himself in good company in English midfielders. But it is not as though he has peaked, he will get better,' the Fulham manager said.

'He has to keep scoring goals and making goals, and I am sure Steve McClaren and Terry Venables will know all about him.

'Who knows? If they get one or two injuries, then he has as good a chance as anybody else.

'Because he is so enthusiastic we sometimes have to work a bit on his positional play, but we do not want to take his strength away, so we have to be careful.'

Coleman won 32 caps with Wales before he was forced to retire through injury in October 2002.

The former centre-half admits Bullard is the type of player who could boost the Principality's current side.

Coleman declared: 'I would love him to play for Wales if he was eligible - but they will not let him into Wales with a haircut like that.

'You would have to stick him in a field with the sheep with that barnet!'

The Fulham boss added: 'I do not think there is any link, though.

'I am sure John Toshack would have been on to it if there was.'

Wayne Routledge moved in the opposite direction to Steed Malbranque in a season-long loan deal from Tottenham on transfer deadline day.

The winger is, though, likely to have to make do with a place on the bench at Newcastle on Saturday as midfielder Michael Brown looks set to recover from a knee problem.

Coleman feels Bullard can help plug the gap left by the departure of the contract rebel.

He said: 'Steed had flashes of brilliance - but he could also be frustrating.

'Jimmy is a different sort of player, and I think he will be a better for us away from home than Steed Malbranque was.'