Rene Meulensteen has dismissed reports linking Bryan Ruiz with a transfer, insisting the forward still has a role to play for Fulham.
The Costa Rica international was a big money signing for the Cottagers back in the summer of 2011, and he has gone on to make 67 Premier League appearances since. However, since Meulensteen replaced the sacked Martin Jol at the beginning of this month, he has been given just three minutes of action.
Anderlecht have been linked with a move for the 28-year-old when the transfer window reopens, although their priority is to lure Steven Defour from Porto. Ruiz spent three years in Belgium from 2006-2009, when his performances for Gent resulted in him clinching a move to Holland and FC Twente.
The forward has been quoted as saying he would consider a move when the window reopens as he looks to maintain his sharpness ahead of the World Cup Finals, when he is likely to face England in Group D. However, Meulensteen has played down the speculation, insisting his player still has a key role in the capital.
“Sometimes players go through bad patches and it does not go very well for them. That was the case a little bit with Bryan,” he told the Fulham Chronicle. “It is confidence that drives players on and sometimes you need to protect them a little bit. Bryan is another very creative, attacking player. He is a game-changer. There are so many games to come and all the players will have a role to play.”
Fulham are currently in the relegation zone after a disastrous start to their Premier League campaign, although they are just a single point adrift of 17th placed West Ham United, who travel to Manchester United on Saturday. Meulensteen’s side, though, hardly have a walk in the park either, as they welcome the free-scoring Manchester City to Craven Cottage at the same time.