Clint Dempsey was so angry after being dropped for Fulham’s Europa League semi-final in 2010 that he punched through a window, according to his former team-mate Danny Murphy.
Fulham’s journey in the second-tier European competition is one of the most memorable stories in their history as they defeated Juventus 4-1 in the last eight – with Dempsey playing a starring role in that victory.
The US star was set to start in the next round against German side Hamburg, with Bobby Zamora initially ruled out through injury. But after the forward declared himself fit to start, Hodgson restored him to the line-up at Dempsey’s expense, and didn’t inform him until half an hour before kick-off.
Clint Dempsey (L) was left furious after being dropped by Roy Hodgson (R) for Fulham’s Europa League semi-final in 2010
The former USA star punched a window but remarkably still came on as a substitute
Explaining the shocking incident in the dressing room, Murphy told the Off The Hook with Jimmy Bullard podcast: ‘We were playing the semi-final, Hamburg at home and Bobby hadn’t trained – he was struggling big time.
‘So we set up the team and Clint was playing upfront because [Andrew Johnson] was injured. Clint was up front with [Zoltan] Gera behind him. Anyway, Bobby on the day decided he’d give it a go so Roy said, “All right” and dropped Clint, but didn’t tell him until half an hour before kick-off.’
Murphy then revealed the gory details of Dempsey hitting a window with ‘tendons and nerves hanging off’, with the player requiring several stitches and a cast, with his hand still not fully recovered after the team made it to the final.
Murphy said Dempsey was only informed of Hodgson’s decision 30 minutes before kick-off
He revealed the US star had ‘nerves and tendons hanging off’ after his spell of rage
‘So you know as you come in the dressing room, you know those little windows that are toughened in the corner?’ he continued. ‘He’s hit one and smashed it.
‘He’s got glass coming out of his hand, got blood going all over the dressing room. It’s everywhere. They’ve had to pull the glass out and stitch him.
‘He came in and just bang. And his hands, he had nerves and tendons hanging off and he wanted to go again. It was too much so all the staff came in, the doctor, everyone, anyway he’s gone on the bench in the end.
Bobby Zamora (R) was favoured by Hodgson for both the semi-final and final against Atletico
‘They ripped the glass out, sowed up the tendons, and put this big plaster cast on. So in the final we had Bobby on one leg, AJ injured and Clint carrying around a 10kg weight plaster cast.’
Incredibly, Dempsey still featured in the semi-final, coming on for Zamora in the 57th minute, with the Whites going on to win the game 2-1 thanks to strikes by Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera.
Dempsey – who scored 60 goals in 232 appearances for Fulham – again missed out in the final against Atletico, with Hodgson still favouring Zamora.
But once again he replaced the forward after half time, with the ex-West Ham man still not fully fit. Dempsey was unable to inspire the team, however – as a Diego Forlan double downed them as they fell to a 2-1 loss in extra time.