HUTCHINSON PAYS DEBT TO BOSS KIT
SHAUN Hutchinson has gone full circle in a Fulham shirt under Kit Symons.
After being sent off in the former Wales international’s first game in charge, the central defender was nurtured rather than discarded and netted in the recent 3-1 defeat at Bolton.
And the 24-year-old admits he owes a great deal of gratitude to Symons for keeping faith with him and installing him as a permanent fixture at the heart of the Cottagers defence.
The X-rated tackle on Blackburn’s Lee Williamson that resulted in Hutchinson’s dismissal in September is a moment he regrets. But rather than sulk, the big Geordie knuckled down and has made himself a fixture in the line-up.
And while Hutchinson admits it took him time to settle at Craven Cottage, he hopes that his current displays in a Fulham shirt are making amends for his earlier aberration.
“I didn’t really help myself,” admitted Hutchinson.
“Anybody who comes to a new club takes a little while to adapt. I just got my head down and kept working hard. Kit showed belief in me and hopefully I am repaying him with performances.
“When Kit came in, he played me in the first game and stupidly I got sent off. He said to me ‘listen, just keep working hard. I know it was silly. Think of the bad times and when the good times come, you’ll appreciate them more’.
“I apologised for letting the team down. I’ve worked hard, I’ve been patient. Obviously it’s not nice being on the bench but I’ve been there every day working hard trying to get in the team and supporting the lads. Hopefully that’s paying off now.”
Hutchinson’s run in the team has dovetailed with Fulham’s improvement under Symons. Felix Magath’s departure, following a shocking start to the campaign, opened the door for 43-year-old Symons to take over as caretaker-manager, before he sealed the job on a permanent basis in October.
Fulham were rock-bottom when Magath left west London, but Symons has helped them edge away from danger.
Symons plied his trade as a centre-back for Portsmouth, Manchester City, Fulham and Crystal Palace, and Hutchinson thinks that knowledge acquired of the defensive arts has been a boost to his own game.
“He likes to break up the training sessions. We do defence one day, we do attacking one day. On a Friday we do quite a lot of defensive work,” added Hutchinson.
“I’ve definitely learnt a lot since coming here. I’ve learnt a lot playing in defence, stuff that I didn’t
necessarily know before. He’s definitely brought my game on.
“He concentrates a little bit more on the defensive side, so he knows what to do. He’s not the type of manager to get on your case.
“He likes you to be free and be confident all the time and to play freely. He gives you tips every now and then and advises you. He’s definitely improved my game.”
The ex-Motherwell defender now wants to reward boss Symons by helping Fulham pick up clean
sheets and climb the table.
ALL-SMILES: Shaun Hutchinson celebrates after scoring against Bolton