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The return of Joe Bryan will hand Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri a selection headache


The return of Joe Bryan will hand Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri a selection headache

Claudio Ranieri’s first match in charge at Fulham ended in a superb victory, with the Whites beating fellow relegation candidates Southampton 3-2.

The Italian manager used the same back four that had played against Liverpool in Slavisa Jokanovic’s final match in charge, yet the full return from injury of left back Joe Bryan will hand Ranieri a selection headache.

Maxime Le Marchand was stationed at left back during the Liverpool and Southampton matches, and performed expertly in Fulham’s backline.

The Frenchman, signed this summer from Nice, had played both centre-half and left back to date, and had struggled to find his feet in his opening months in England.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

On a number of occasions, the defender has given the ball away in dangerous positions when passing out from the back, leading to opposition goals.


But Le Marchand showed defensive resilience at Anfield and produced a stellar performance against Southampton, contributing with an excellent assist to set up Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener.

Most Fulham supporters will be eager to see Bryan back in his favoured left back position, but it would also be harsh on Le Marchand to be dropped after his recent uptick in form.

In all, Claudio Ranieri faces a difficult decision at the left back position when Fulham travel to Chelsea on Sunday, with both Joe Bryan and Maxime Le Marchand vying for the coveted starting spot.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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