George creates an XI of Fulham players who were the first – and so far only – representatives of their country to don the white shirt.
With Fulham failing to hide Manor Solomon from the stream showing our games in the Algarve at the weekend, it appears that the deal is done. The winger will become the first Israeli to ever play for the club. This got me thinking: which other players have been the only man from their country to play for the club and can I make an XI? Of course I can, and there’s some cracking names in there with many an honourable mention. Here we go…
Goalkeeper: Tony Macedo (Gibraltar)
I’ll address the elephant in the room: Macedo represented England under-23s on 10 occasions, but the man is from Gibraltar and Gibraltar didn’t have a national team until 2013, and I could not exclude a genuine Fulham legend from my side, so he goes in thenet.
Right-back: Elsad Zverotic (Montenegro)
Probably the most rogue name on this team sheet, due to a huge lack of right-backs that popped up after researching names eligible for this list. That being said, 61 caps and five goals for Montenegro over an international career Is hardly a poor showing.
Centre-back: Michael Madl (Austria)
I did not expect there to have only been one Austrian to play for the club, but Madl is the one and only. A popular figure on the banks of the Thames, the defender signed permanently after an original loan spell, and has had a role managing in the Austria Wien academy since hanging his boots up last summer.
Centre-back: Zesh Rehman (Pakistan)
Not just the only Pakistani international to play for club, but also the only Pakistani to play Premier League football so far too. Rehman made 25 caps for Pakistan, scoring one goal, and recently retired after having the role of player-manager at Southern in Hong Kong for the past two seasons.
Left-back: Carlos Salcido (Mexico)
Salcido ultimately could’ve played one of about five positions, but slots in at full-back in this team with the lack of options in this position. The Mexican was a quality operator with a phenomenal international career to prove it, amassing 124 caps and 10 goals, as well as a further nine appearances in the Olympic side in 2012, where Mexico won gold in London.
Centre Midfield: Mario Lemina (Gabon)
While part of a forgettable relegation season while on loan at the club under Scott Parker, Lemina was an impressive addition who will be most fondly remembered for his winning goal in a famous win at Anfield against Liverpool.
Centre Midfield: Mahamadou Diarra (Mali)
Fulham was the greatest time of Diarra’s career, which also saw him play for Real Madrid, Monaco and Lyon. Okay, maybe not. The Malian scored his one and only goal against Bolton Wanderers and retired after leaving the club in 2014. Diarra’s international career spanned 13 years, including 72 caps and seven goals.
Right Midfield: Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica)
The silky Costa Rican came to England after three successful spells at Alajuelense, Gent and Twente. Most famous for his ability to chip goalkeepers like they weren’t even there (I’m looking at you Tim Howard and Jussi Jaaskelainen), Ruiz has an impressive 144 caps and 29 goals racked up for his country.
Attacking midfield: Junichi Inamoto (Japan)
Inamoto will likely be the only Fulham player ever to score a hat-trick in a European final (four across the two legs against Bologna in the Intertoto Cup final, in total), and for that reason he is fondly remembered by each and every Fulham fan who knows who he is.
Left Midfield: Floyd Ayite (Togo)
Tom Cairney claimed Ayite was the most underrated player he has played with during his time at Fulham and you won’t find many fans disagreeing with the sentiment. A highly talented and skillful winger, who alongside Aluko and Kebano gave us some incredibly exciting football to watch when he was at his best in the 2016/17 season.
Striker: Hugo Rodallega (Colombia)
Like Michael Madl, I was quite surprised that Rodallega was the only Colombian to play for the club. A proper ‘The streets won’t forget’ player who scored goals for the club both in the Premier League and the Championship. Hugo also has 37 caps and seven goals to his name for his country.
Marek Rodak (Slovakia)
Kevin Betsy (Seychelles)
Fernando Amorebieta (Venezuela)
Ibrahima Cisse (Guinea)
Kerim Frei (Turkey)
Seol Ki-Hyeon (South Korea)
Mladen Petric (Croatia)