DICKSON Etuhu reckons Steve Sidwell’s attempt to snatch his Fulham place will make the Nigerian international a better player.
The defensive midfielder throws his hat into the ring for a slot at Everton tomorrow (Saturday) knowing he could bang nails into his mate’s coffin if he holds down the place that has been his for the last two years.
Etuhu said: "It’s not for me to make those kind of decisions, but the competition with Siddy will only make me want to perform better.
"It’s true there’s not really been anyone else to go for my particular role. And I think I have built up a particularly good partnership with Danny Murphy in midfield, but ideally the club needs two good players for every position."
Sidwell, who is sidelined with a knee problem, has insisted every chance he gets in a white shirt is a step closer to a long deal when his current six-month contract runs out in the summer, and the former Chelsea and Aston Villa player made his Fulham debut when he replaced Etuhu during the 2-0 win over Stoke in January.
Etuhu was straight back in to the Cottage with a hamstring strain after he made way – but aggravated the injury in the 3-2 win over Blackburn a fortnight ago.
However, he returned to training yesterday ahead of the trip to Merseyside as the Whites look to continue their climb up the table.
And with a string of Fulham wins, Etuhu is eyeing a return to Europe next season – so concertinaed is the Premiership from sixth down.
It would do the Cottage cause no harm at all if Chelsea were to win the Champions League at Wembley – and free up one more Euro spot for Fulham and other English contenders.
"I’ve also got mates at Chelsea," said Etuhu. "The African players there like John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Didier (Drogba) I get on well with – although I’d better say I Manchester United as well, so I don’t get so much stick from their fans the next time we play them."