You might think he is lazy… but Berbatov has grafted to become the king of Craven Cottage
16:20 GMT, 11 December 2012
When Martin Jol pulled off one of the surprises of the transfer window by singing Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United many called it a masterstroke – but some questioned if the Bulgarian would be up for the challenge of playing down further down the Premier League with Fulham.
But 16 games into the Premier League season and Berbatov has more than proved any doubters wrong and has delivered more than even the most optimistic of Fulham fan could have dreamt of- even if he does wear tights.
The former golden boot winner has already chipped in with five goals this season, but he has contributed more than that, he has added style, adventure and leadership.
Man in tights: Dimitar Berbatov was one of Fulham's star performers against Newcastle
He may not have had his most accurate shooting boots on during Monday night’s 2-1 win over Newcastle, but he more than made up for it with his touch and vision.
And while jumping in the air for high balls does not appeal, why should it, when he simply plucks them out of the air with his feet and then plays the ball on the ground.
His somewhat laid back style of play at Old Trafford has not transferred to Craven Cottage where the Bulgarian seems to be thriving in the senior role at Fulham and is not afraid to get stuck in.
Good ball control: Berbatov keeps the ball in the west London derby against Fulham
At times he may seem sulky and surly when the ball is not played to him at exactly the right time in the place that he wants it, but at others, he can be seen actively encouraging the younger players in the team, the likes of Alex Kacaniklic and more recently since his return from injury, Kerim Frei.
But it is not just the younger players; Berbatov makes himself available all around the pitch and for that reason is making more touches than most people remember him doing in his time with both Tottenham and Manchester United.
Getting everywhere: Opta stats show where Berbatov touched the ball against Newcastle and the areas of the pitch he was most active
Berbatov has often been accused of being a stroller, a player who does not move at speed, but watch him for Fulham this season and it is as if he has magnets in his boots.
If any criticisms are to be made, it is that possibly the Fulham players rely too much on him, by passing to him to get them out of trouble, but while he is willing then the problem is not so prevalent.
Naturally he has his own philosophy on how the game should be played, speaking ahead of the game with Newcastle in the programme.
Close control: Berbatov keeps the ball away from Fabricio Coloccini
He said: 'I like to play with beauty and grace – that has always been my philosophy from a young age.
'That’s how I play and that’s what football is about. Plenty of football players play like this and that is what I want to watch.
'I don’t want to watch players puffing around the pitch. You see games where the ball is flying from one box to another and it makes my neck hurt. That is not football for me.'
He may not want to see players puffing around the pitch, but don’t let that fool you that he is afraid of hard work.
Part of the team: Berbatov celebrates Fulham first goal against Newcastle with his team-mates
Against Arsenal last month, with Fulham 2-0 down after 25 minutes he single handily dragged Jol’s team back into the game and earning a point by scoring two and creating the other one for Kacaniklic.
And back to Monday’s game with Newcastle, and it was probably not his favourite type of game, given its fast and frantic nature. But he did his best to lead the team and end Fulham’s seven game winless run.
And Jol was clearly pleased with the Bulgarian’s contribution, he said: ‘He didn’t score but he kept the team together in the hole and I was very happy with him.
'My squad realise that Berbatov is a key player. He is the one that keeps us together.
'He probably covered more ground than ever before. He’s a good number 10. After losing Clint Dempsey, I’m very happy that he came to this club.'
Jol is clearly delighted that his transfer window masterstroke is paying off and while it is, Fulham fans and football fans in general should enjoy it.