Pantsil wants Europa League role

The full back has been out of action since picking up a serious

knee injury in the Cottagers’ west London derby defeat against

Chelsea in December. The injury ruled Pantsil out of the African

Nations Cup and the majority of Fulham’s march through Europe which

has seen them dispose of the likes of Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk

to make the semi finals, where they will meet Hamburg next week.

Pantsil had to undergo an operation to cure the problem with his

posterior cruciate ligament in January before returning to training

three weeks ago. Since then the defender has played three reserve

games and he is now hoping to play some part in Fulham’s bid to win

their first major European competition. “To play a full 90 minutes

against Aston Villa’s reserves on Monday was fantastic and I’m

looking to be involved with the first team again very soon,” the

28-year-old told Fulham’s website. “The injury happened on the last

day before leaving to join my colleagues in the African Cup of

Nations so I missed out on the African Cup of Nations and also all

the Europa League games and I nearly lost the World Cup. “We all

started the season together but my injury pushed me away from

competing in the Europa League competition. “The boys are doing so

well and I’m really pleased with their performances but on the

other hand I’m not happy that I’m not involved.” Should Pantsil

feature in Fulham’s Premier League clash against Wolves on

Saturday, he could play some part in next week’s semi-final

first-leg in Hamburg. The defender has warned it may take time for

him to re-discover the form which led him to become Roy Hodgson’s

first-choice right-back though. “I feel very happy with the

progress of my knee and much more confident and comfortable,” said

Pantsil, who signed from West Ham in 2008. “I’m someone who always

gives my best and tries my heart out and I went in for a challenge

and lost out. “It’s been really frustrating so now that I’m fit to

play again I have to work so hard so that I can be the same player

I was before.”