New Fulham signing praises Premier League goalkeeping legends

Gabor Kiraly has set the benchmark for his performances at Fulham, citing a former Manchester United and a Chelsea keeper as the standard to reach.

Fulham have started the season in dismal form, and their use of two academy goalkeepers has certainly not helped in their search for a first league victory of the season.

However, Hungarian international Gabor Kiraly agreed a deal with the Cottagers on August 26, and the 38-year old returned to English football - five years since leaving Burnley.

Despite not featuring in his first available game, the keeper - who has also turned out for Crystal Palace and Hertha Berlin - was an unused substitute as the Cottagers picked up their first point of the season - drawing 1-1 with fellow Premier League relegated club Cardiff City.

Despite his increasing age, Kiraly insisted that he was ready to play whenever called upon, although he admitted that his experience will be just as vital as his playing ability.

Speaking to the official Fulham website, the Premier League veteran said: “This is my 22nd professional season and I have played more than 750 games. I’m always trying to learn and use my experience in the next game and in the future for my team, for myself, and this is important here in Fulham.

“I enjoy what I do and I learned a lot in my career, and I will learn in the future too. I want to use my experience for the Club.”

The two academy keepers that have shared playing duties this season, Jesse Joronen and Marcus Bettinelli, have failed to impress, and Kiraly is hoping that he can help the youngsters improve their game - citing some Fulham legends as the required standard for the club.

“Of course, every team has two, three, four goalkeepers but only one can play. But it’s the team that is important. We have to work all week for our performance and this, for me, is important. I will give my best.

Mark Schwarzer, Antti Niemi, Edwin van der Sar were all great goalkeepers here so I know what the quality is.”

Current Chelsea goalkeeper Schwarzer spent five years at Craven Cottage, racking up 172 league appearances, whilst van der Sar made 127 appearances for the Cottagers before moving to English giants Manchester United - with whom he won four Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.

The quality of the quoted goalkeepers will be a task for the current Fulham men to reach, but under an experienced head such as Kiraly there is no denying that the youngsters will have a chance to improve a considerable amount.

Whether they reach the level of such Premier League greats will remain to be seen, but the need to improve is vital - with a long, tough Championship season set in stone for the Cottagers.

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