Chelsea v Hull City: Rosenior masks his frustration as he tackles best job in the world

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THE Mask, a Nineties film about how a nerdy bank clerk is transformed into a comic book super hero, doesn’t seem, on the surface, to have too many parallels with Premier League football.

Jim Carrey plays the main part, whose sad and sorry life is transformed when he finds said mask, a curious wooden effort, floating in dark waters as he contemplates suicide following the latest in a long line of setbacks.

Hull City's Liam Rosenior.

Hull City's Liam Rosenior.

Quicker than Clark Kent can dart into a phone booth or Bruce Wayne morphs into Batman, Carrey’s character, Stanley Ipkiss, gains special powers that he subsequently uses to take revenge on all those who had made his life such a misery up to donning the mask.

Hardly, therefore, your everyday tale of top-flight football.

Liam Rosenior, however, sees it differently with Hull City’s second longest serving player believing – with tongue placed firmly in his cheek – that he can relate to Carrey’s character when it comes to his own time at the KC Stadium.

The 30-year-old has had to overcome several setbacks of his own since joining the Tigers at a time in which the club’s finances were in such a meltdown that he had to wait for the subsequent takeover by the Allam family for him to finally be offered a long-term contract.

Rosenior has faced them all in typically level-headed fashion, be it the joy of playing in an FA Cup final or the frustration of long spells on the sidelines.

This season has brought plenty of the latter, the full-back having started just three Premier League games due to manager Steve Bruce instead going with many of the signings that arrived amid an unprecedented £50m spending spree in 2014.

Two of those starts, however, have come in the last two games to leave Rosenior, who has made 133 top-flight appearances in his career, hoping for more of the same between now and the end of the campaign.

“You are always frustrated when not in the side,” said the former England Under-21 international to The Yorkshire Post. “To be honest, I feel like I am The Mask. You know the film? I am the Mask of the club.

“I keep coming back. And I will keep doing that. In terms of Premier League appearances, I would guess I am up there in this squad (in terms of top flight games played).

“Maybe the fourth or fifth highest in the squad. I am not a Championship player. You get pigeon holed and I want to be seen as a Premier League player in my own right.

“I feel my performances have justified that in the past. I now need to keep doing that in the future and I think I can.”

Rosenior’s renowned self-belief saw him take an unscheduled sabbatical from the game before joining City.

After leaving Reading in the summer of 2010, the only offers coming in were for further down the football pyramid.

His response was to sit tight in the hope that a Championship club would come knocking. In the meantime, the full-back trained on his own – often becoming a regular sight running around Wimbledon Common.

Hull’s offer of a short-term deal in the October brought that episode to an end but he has never forgotten those four months, hence his response to The Yorkshire Post’s enquiry as to whether his time on the sidelines this season had left the full-back down.

“No, not at all,” said the likeable full-back with a smile. “I have the best job in the world so motivating myself when not in the team is not difficult.

“When I was a little boy, all I dreamed about was becoming a professional footballer. To come in every day and work hard in training is not hard to me. It can be difficult when not playing and maybe self doubt can creep in.

“It can affect your confidence but I am strong enough to take it on the chin. I have said many times before that my chance will come.

“And when it does, I am more than confident I can take it.”

City face the ultimate task today when they travel to leaders Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho’s men suffered a first defeat in 24 games last weekend at Newcastle United and will be determined to bounce back against a team they completed the double over last term.

For Hull, points have been in short supply with last weekend’s goalless draw at home to West Bromwich Albion meaning Steve Bruce’s men have won just two of 15 league games this term.

It is why the Tigers currently reside in the relegation zone and seem set for a long battle against the drop.

Rosenior added: “Falling into the relegation zone is not nice. But I find you learn about people’s character in a situation like that and who is willing to fight and scrap.

“Every single player wants to scrap, not just those in the team now. When we score, everyone on the bench goes up. We are all in this together and it has always been like that.

“We have honest lads. You can’t pigeon-hole people and say those who have signed more recent are different to anyone else.

“This is a group. Every single member of this squad is an honest lad. They all work hard. Everyone has a dip in form.

“But when you have characters and people who are willing to stand up and be counted, you always have a chance.

“We are always up against the odds and we continue to fight to prove we belong in this league.

“December is a big month for us. It always gives you a gauge as to what a season is going to be like.

“If you can come out of December in mid-table – and we have a chance of doing that – then you are in a good place.

“Our target is to be around mid-table. Every team will go through dips in form.

“It is the best league in the world, after all.”