Fulham Jol challenges Taarabt to prove himself

Adel Taarabt

Fulham manager Martin Jol has challenged Adel Taarabt to prove he belongs in the Premier League.

The temperamental Moroccan, 24, was signed on a season-long loan from QPR last week and made his Whites debut as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s friendly against Parma.

Having been a star of Rangers’ promotion season, he struggled to hold down a regular first-team place during their two years in the top flight.

His conduct was a talking point throughout his time with the R’s and West London Sport revealed last month that he had been sent home from their pre-season trip to Devon.

“They threw him out of the QPR squad and I was happy to take him.” – Martin Jol

He quickly fell out of favour after Harry Redknapp – who sold him to QPR when Tottenham manager – took over at Loftus Road last year.

Taarabt subsequently made it clear he wanted to leave following the club’s relegation to the Championship.

And Jol, who was Spurs boss when they signed a teenage Taarabt from Lens in 2007, had no qualms about taking him to Craven Cottage.

“He should not be in the situation he is now,” said Jol.

“There are a lot of [good] players in this country and Europe who are in that situation and not playing.

“I always say that for us it is an opportunity to take them when they are ‘bad’. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad players – we have to try to get the maximum out of them.

“For us it’s not possible to get all these players who are ‘good’. Dimitar Berbatov was probably an exception and so was Brede Hangeland.

Jol believes Taarabt can make a big impact.

Jol believes Taarabt can make a big impact.

“With the rest, you have to try to be creative and I think with Adel Taarabt we were very creative.

“A year ago he was probably going to Paris St-Germain for a lot of money.

“They threw him out of the QPR squad and I was happy to take him.

“But I think he has to prove now again that he can do a very good job. He’s 24 now and hopefully he will prove to us and to anybody else that he can do a good job.

“We need creativity and that’s why I took him. Adel is someone who can score goals and have five or six assists, I hope, at the start of the season.”

Taarabt’s exclusion from QPR’s pre-season campaign means he is one of a number of Fulham’s squad who are short of match fitness.

And Jol believes it is vital that the player gets back up to speed as soon as possible.

“He hasn’t been included in a QPR team and we have to get him fit, so of course you can’t start with him,” said Jol.

“To be 100% it would maybe take three or four weeks, but I think we need him before that. I will try to get him into match fitness as soon as possible.

“We’ve got other players – Derek Boateng played 60 minutes [against Parma] and didn’t play for a year and Ashkan Dejagah has come back from injury.

“Anyone we bring in in the next few weeks will be the same [in terms of fitness]. For us it’s good we’re starting the season, but maybe we could have done with a couple more weeks.”

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