Dempsey delivers

Published : Nov 18, 2010 00:00 IST

Praise from fellow professionals is always proof that a player is well respected, and club-mates and international colleagues have always been quick to acknowledge the American striker's ability, writes Simon Peach.

Clint Dempsey certainly does not fit the profile for an average Barclays English Premier League player. Born in Texas and raised on a trailer park, Dempsey found his way to Fulham via New England Revolution where he spent three seasons honing his talents.

His career at Fulham certainly did not burst into life from the beginning. Dempsey, 27, was very much a bit-part player for the second-half of the 2006/07 season, scoring only once in a handful of appearances.

The striker began to show the Craven Cottage faithful his true ability during the next campaign and gradually became one of the most important and influential players in the Fulham squad.

The 2009/10 season saw him reach his full potential, right up until he damaged cruciate knee ligaments at the turn of the year. Despite this, he returned at a pivotal point in Fulham's season as the club continued its surprising charge through the Europa League.

Dempsey was introduced as a substitute during the second leg of the last-16 tie against the Italian giant Juventus, with the score 3-1 on the night and level on aggregate. Within 15 minutes he had scored one of the goals of his life and one that was later described as ‘the most famous goal in the history of Fulham FC.'

Dempsey went on to become the first American to feature in a major European final, but he could not help Fulham as it lost to Atletico Madrid in extra-time.

Dempsey's reputation grew still further, as did his notoriety, when he scored rather fortuitously against England during this year's World Cup in South Africa. The goal — which squirmed underneath Rob Green — meant that Dempsey became only the second American to score in two World Cups, following on from former Fulham frontman Brian McBride.

Praise from fellow professionals is always proof that a player is well respected, and club-mates and international colleagues have always been quick to acknowledge Dempsey's ability. Jozy Altidore, his U.S. compatriot knows what to expect when he plays alongside the Fulham star.

“Clint's a good player,” he said. “He's good with the ball at his feet, he's good at finding little holes. He's a guy that's very easy to play with.”

Dempsey has challenged the cliche surrounding Americans playing ‘soccer' and his tenacious approach will never leave him. “I just go out and play,” he said. “All you can really control is what you do on the field and try to be the best that you can be. That's kind of what I've done my whole life. You know that you're having to fight stereotypes, coming from America. I'm coming from a place where the game really wasn't respected.”

Dempsey, who was banned by New England Revolution for two weeks back in March 2006 for an alleged training-ground bust-up with team-mate Joe Franchino is married to Bethany, an educational psychologist/model. An Audi A6 Quattro is among Dempsey's car collection.

FACTFILEName:Position:D.O.B:United States caps:United States goals:United States debut:Moment to rememberMoment to forget

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