LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Bryan Ruiz of Fulham remonstrates with referee Chris Foy that his penalty crossed the line during the shootout in the Carling Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge on September 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Bryan Ruiz is a footballer that is difficult to fathom at the best of times. He's something of an enigma, really; one that is capable of genuinely quite sublime mastery of the ball and an awareness of his ability to turn a game on its metaphorical head. But, he is also prone to a frustrating lack of urgency and, at times, appreciation of the pace of the English game and these mercurial traits have become a disconcerting phenomenon. We, as fans, have acknowledged as such and so has Martin Jol in his ever-decreasing faith in the Costa Rican.
However poorly we think of him, though, there is still that sense of boundless inherent potential that makes you feel as though the £11 million spent on him was somewhat worthy. Perhaps next season he can turn that feeling into something solidified and proven and there is hope, all around Fulham, that he can conquer this league and all that it throws at him. He just needs to, as they say, step it up.
By far his most compelling moment in the white of Fulham continues to be his divine chip over Everton's Tim Howard as we, in vain, battled from a goal down against Everton only to hand them victory in the match's dying minutes. As the ball slowly progressed through the air and into the net there was a short but sharp belief that Ruiz was indeed someone who could set Craven Cottage alight with some sort of lesson in footballing aptitude, but the impression, unfortunately, faded quickly.
It faded as every game passed and it retreated in a similar fashion to his very own intensity. It was almost as if his job was done and his mark on England was set in stone. It wasn't, of course. It was anything but.
If, however, in the likely absence of both Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey next season, Ruiz can find some sort of desire to succeed from within then there is no reason as to why England cannot prove to be his oyster. Papiss Cisse was a man in the same remit as Ruiz, with acclamation in tow from his days at SC Freiburg, but with a heady aura of self belief and unquestionably limitless ability, he has stormed into the Premier League and been anointed king. Was there really too much difference between the cosmic goal of Cisse on Monday evening and Ruiz's most cherished moment against Everton?
You can argue either way but you cannot deny the talent in Ruiz. It is there and merely needs to be exploited, both by his manager and by himself. Jol needs to offer him a freedom of expression that some of the best servants to the game have been granted and he also needs to instil some self belief into a man that is quite palpably lacking in confidence and charisma right now.
His current injury, of course, has not helped proceedings but it has at least withdrawn him from the heated limelight. We've all been quick to jump on his back when it hasn't quite gone to plan and perhaps the pressure has taken it's quite damning toll on the man but then, we must of course ask why, if he cannot take the burdens of Premier League football, he agreed to travel to England in the first place.
And that is perhaps the most worrying issue that must be addressed with Ruiz. He must bypass his most pressing concerns of adaptation to this new way of life and play in the way in which he was born to and the way in which we all know he can. If he succeeds in such a role then he will succeed at Fulham.
All he needs, then, is at least an ounce of belief in himself and what he stands for and what he can do on a football pitch. Given those remedies, there could well be a new candidate for Premier League king come next season.