Thanks to Camara, Everything Clicks into Place for Diop

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART JAMES

HENRI CAMARA knows a good player when he sees one. The Senegal international, who this week joined Southampton from Celtic, told Papa Bouba Diop in the summer that the Premiership was perfect for his domineering style of play.

Fulham should be thankful that the midfielder, who turned 27 last week, took his international team-mate's advice. "Henri Camara is my best friend, we talk all the time," said Diop. "He said to me, 'You must come to England. I know what you are like, I know how you play, come to the Premiership - you will come out of your shell and explode'."

Diop has certainly illuminated Craven Cottage since joining from Lens in July, not least with his spectacular shooting.

For a big man - he is 6ft 4in and almost 16 stone - Diop is also at ease with the ball at his feet.

Indeed there can be few holding midfielders in the Premiership whose passing is so incisive.

"I like free-flowing football and I like to receive the ball, pass it quickly and to get it back - I like to be involved as much as possible," said Diop. …