Fulham Says Mitroglou Not in Shape

Greece’s star soccer striker Kostas Mitroglou, who left Olympiakos to sign with the British Premier League team Fulham isn’t fit to play for them yet, the team’s coach said of the man signed for 12 million British Pounds, about $20 million.

Coach Felix Magath said Mitroglou, who previously had an injured knee, is in condition enough to play only 30 minutes, not 90 minutes, although the Greek player is expected to play for Greece in a friendly against South Korea. He’s been left off the Fulham roster for its March 8 game against Chelsea, the London Evening-Standard reported.

Mitroglou, 25, has made just one 29-minute substitute appearance since joining Fulham in January but Magath’s concern about the player’s condition caused confusion as to why the striker is playing for the Greek national team. He is the centerpiece of its World Cup squad getting ready for the games in Brazil this summer.

Magath struggled to clarify his decision to leave Mitroglou out at the weekend, with the Fulham manager first saying the forward was not fit enough before going back on those comments by claiming he was not ready for the intensity of the Premier League.

“He is not fit enough to play 90 minutes,” said Magath, and then caused more confusion by not naming Mitroglou on the substitutes’ bench at Craven Cottage despite admitting he was “fit enough to play for half an hour”.

Mitroglou joined Fulham with a minor knee injury but appeared to be on his way to full fitness when he made his debut as a substitute against West Brom last month. Mitroglou is likely to return from international duty and will then be assessed by Magath and the club’s medical staff before the trip to Wales.