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Fulham new signing and ex-Liverpool winger Ryan Babel says the greater “commercial appeal” of other players kept him out of the starting line-ups earlier in his career.
On his return to Premier League after eight years, the 32-year-old said he would have different decisions if he had the chance, after moving to play in the UAE at the age of 28.
The winger opened up on some of his frustrations with the football industry in an interview with Sky Sports.
He said: “There were situations in my career where I played much better than another player in my position, but that player had a better name in terms of commercial appeal.
“At that time, I didn’t really take it seriously, I thought it was just about who was training better, and the manager told me ‘We have to play him, because of this reason’.
“That was a big slap in the face to understand and think you need to be a little more lucky to survive in football. I guess it is what it is, but if you know that up front, you can make better decisions by knowing not to join certain teams.”
Babel feels his underwhelming four-year spell at Liverpool could have gone differently had he received additional guidance at Anfield. In hindsight, he believes more family support was required.
The Dutch international said: “There are things I would have done differently. I remember my parents asking me if they needed to join me and I said I could handle it – maybe that would have made a major difference, to have them around and give you a transition into living by yourself.”
The winger is now plying his trade at Fulham for the rest of this season, hoping to make a positive impact and lift the Cottagers out of the danger zone.