Date: 4th January 2008 at 4:32pm
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If I had to pick one player and one player only who doesn`t deserve to be languishing in the bottom three, a player who has performed stoically this season giving top notch performances week after week, it wouldn`t take me long to come to a decision.

The player I`d choose would be Anti Niemi.

Our keeper has overcome a serious injury to reclaim the keepers shirt at Craven Cottage and has produced memorable save after memorable save this season when under, at times, extreme pressure.

At thirty-five he isn`t a spring chicken but thankfully he has no thoughts about hanging up his gloves yet.

Indeed, Niemi seems to take his inspiration form another of the goalkeeping clan who is defying the theory that footballers need to retire at a certain age, David James.

In a very brief interview, published in one of those freebie papers you invariably trip up on as you edge into a packed tube train going to work in the morning, this is what he said,

“You see David James going well and hopefully I can do the same.”

Told you it was brief!

However, at thirty-five Niemi still has a long way to go to catch up with the elder statesman of keepers, John Burridge.

Budgie, as he was affectionately known as to his friends, prolonged his career well into the forties, although we`re not sure if Niemi has that sort of prolonged career in mind.

 

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