Hodgson surprised by Bullard knee injury woe

Click to follow

Roy Hodgson insists he is surprised by Jimmy Bullard’s latest injury nightmare, but admits that the player’s fitness problems were a consideration in Fulham’s contract negotiations with the midfielder.

Bullard was out for 16 months after sustaining a horrific knee injury in 2006 and, having completed a £5m move to Hull City last month, he is on the sidelines again. He played just 37 minutes for Hull before sustaining another knee injury, which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.

While Hodgson said that Fulham had no reason to believe Bullard was at risk of further injury when they sold him, he conceded that the midfielder’s age and medical history did give pause for thought. Bullard, 30, wanted the security of an improved four-year deal but the west London side were wary of offering that length of contract.

“The truthful answer is it [his knee] was a consideration,” said Hodgson, whose side host West Bromwich Albion tomorrow. “I don’t think it was a major consideration because when Jimmy came back from his previous injury he played in virtually every game afterwards. In that respect we had no reason to doubt his knee. We couldn’t say, ‘We’re not giving Jimmy a new contract because he has a bad knee’, that wasn’t the case at all.

“But, of course, if you are looking at a player who has had a very serious injury and has been out for a long period, and thinking about a contract lasting three or four years, it would be dishonest to say that [the injury] doesn’t become a consideration. We didn’t know about about this. When I heard he was going to America for an operation it took me by surprise.

“But if we hadn’t given it a thought we wouldn’t be doing our job. We’re not talking about a 22-year-old, it’s a player who’s 31 this year. Four-year contracts when you’re 31 will be put under the microscope. He mentioned it [the knee, before he left]. He said he felt something.”