The Cottagers Return: A Look Back At Fulham's All-Time Premier League XI
As Fulham return to the Premier League, it's time to take a look back at their best ever Premier League era XI.
Fulham's promotion to the Premier League in their play-off final victory against Aston Villa means that they will return home after a short four-year absence from England's top tier.
Their last promotion to the Premier League was in 2001, where goals from Louis Saha were the beginning of the Cottagers 13-year run in the top flight.
Fulham are a club with tremendous history. Despite only managing to win a UEFA Intertoto Cup over their previous Premier League period, the club have enjoyed success through notable high finishes and cup runs, such as their unfortunate FA Cup semi-final defeat in 2002, or more recently, their 2010 UEFA Cup final defeat against Atletico Madrid.
Aside from some misfortune in cups, one of Fulham's most memorable campaigns was in the 2007/08 season, where Roy Hodgson took over and produced 'The Great Escape'. Fulham were almost certain to be relegated before winning four of their last five games to survive, including a 3-2 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Some of the history created by Fulham has embedded a reputation for the club, a respect amongst the top flight teams. Much like the Cottagers previous campaign in the Championship, the side has always looked to play football in the right way and, as a result, has been home to some of the Premier League's most memorable players.
"For us we want to get promoted and have a strategy where we stay there for the long haul, and do it in a sustainable manner so it's there long after we've gone" Shahid Khan
Positively for Cottagers fans, they appear to be in good hands - sustainability is key for success in England's top tier. As Stoke found out across the previous season, the Premier League is ruthless and failure to transition could spell relegation for even the most seasoned of teams.
Whilst Fulham would love to be able to call upon some of their former players such as Edwin van der Sar, Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, they will instead have to rely upon their up and coming talent, such as Ryan Sessegnon. Which of those players are worthy of a spot in Fulham's all-time Premier League XI?
The team has been set up in a classic 4-4-2 formation.
Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar
No contest. The Dutch legend is not only Fulham's best, but also one of the best goalkeepers to have played in the Premier League. The former Cottagers goalkeeper went on to become a Champions League winner after 127 appearances for Fulham.
van der Sar's big saves helped Fulham to UEFA Intertoto Cup glory in 2002. In the same year, Fulham came close to reaching their first FA Cup final since 1975. Despite van der Sar's efforts, The Cottagers were narrowly defeated in the semi-final by local rivals, Chelsea.