"Bambi" Ruiz moet snel hert worden

"Bambi" Ruiz moet snel hert worden

Transfer Deadline Day tends to be an exciting time for a football fan if your side is making a big signing. For Fulham fans, it was Bryan Ruiz on August 31st 2011. Despite late interest from Newcastle, Ruiz chose Craven Cottage as his new home.

Yet the early signs weren’t positive. Ruiz’s first appearance for Fulham against Blackburn was disastrous. His lack of strength on the ball was all too apparent and he looked used to having much more time on the ball. It’s constantly highlighted how it can take players coming from different football cultures time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.

He has still been reminiscent of Bambi at times, but in some ways this isn’t a bad thing. Bambi was quick and able to elude others. Ruiz footwork and runs with the ball have been mesmerizing at times. The two goals he has scored for Fulham have both been of the highest quality.

The Costa Rican’s first came against Everton; a delightful chip from the left hand side of the 18 yard box, leaving Tim Howard flailing in vain to keep out the effort. Not content with looping the ball over one Premier League goalkeeper, he felt the need to give Jussi Jaaskelainen the same treatment in December. Having produced a fantastic cross for Clint Dempsey’s first, minutes later the American returned the favour putting Ruiz through on goal. Having turned golfer for his goal against Everton, this time Ruiz opted for an ice cream approach as he scooped the ball over the helpless Bolton keeper.

These two goals exuded confidence and quality. Part of the reason for this has been how Ruiz has gained some physical strength and become more decisive on the ball. It cannot be emphasized enough how important this is to Ruiz succeeding in the Premier League. Compare Ruiz to a more high profile player with plenty of skill but a slight figure – say Lionel Messi.

What many fail to realise about the Argentinean maestro is just how strong he is. To be able to ride so many challenges in the fashion which he does, Messi’s strength is pivotal. It’s why defenders find it so difficult to knock him off the ball. Combining his strength with the skill and speed makes him a very hard opponent to combat.

Ruiz is not in the same calibre as the Ballon D’Or winner but there is evidence of a similar Hispanic flair. He is considered the best player in his home country of Costa Rica and is the first from the Central American nation to play in the Premier League since Paulo Wanchope.

By the end of his time in England, Wanchope had 62 Premier League goals to his name. Ruiz has greater technical skill than his Costa Rican predecessor. Again, strength was a key facet though to Wanchope’s success in the Premier League. Should he work on this over the coming months, Ruiz will start to find life in England easier.

Adapting to the speed of the Premier League usually comes with time. That said it will worry Fulham fans the regularity with which Ruiz is caught on the ball by opposition players currently. Nevertheless, he has shown enough in the attacking third to give plenty of encouragement.

For Fulham’s “Bambi”, Ruiz needs to evolve from a deer into a stag if there is to be a happy ending to his time in London.

Schoonheid van Ruiz - Fulham 1-1 Everton, Bryan Ruiz... door XpressGOAL365

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