For a Nigerian midfield long on strength and combativeness but short on creativity, Dickson Etuhu fits firmly into the former camp. Tall, powerful and hard-working, the Fulham man is sure to form part of the cover in defensive midfield should John Obi Mikel be called on to get forward more. He can also be imposing in the air, and he proved he can get on the score sheet for his club in their famous Europa League advancement at the expense of Juventus. Born in Nigeria but raised in England, Etuhu started out his club career with Manchester City but came up mostly with Preston North End and Norwich City. He spent a positive 2007-8 season at Sunderland before being signed by Fulham coach Roy Hodgson, who has made the 28-year-old a regular feature of his first team.
Though he was called up to a Nigerian team in the build-up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, Etuhu first played for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Mexico in October of 2007. He became a regular squad player for then-coach Berti Vogts and played well in two matches at the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. A string of injuries saw him fall out of favour with the next coach, Shaibu Amodu, and Etuhu only played in one qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup - a 3-0 victory over Kenya last summer. But his good form early in the English Premier League season convinced Amodu to invite the player to the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola. Etuhu was the first choice anchor man, playing solidly as a starter in each of the team’s first four matches. A tweak to his knee saw him miss the semi-final defeat to Ghana as well as the third-place victory over Algeria.