I’ve been a little taken aback by some of the criticism of Danny Murphy in the wake of win over Wolfsburg. Yes, he played a couple of poor passes that were picked off by the opposition in dangerous area but the Fulham skipper and Dickson Etuhu ran the game from a central area.
He played a couple of blinding balls through to Bobby Zamora and, even when we were pushed a bit deeper, Murphy was always available to receive and recycle possession. The stats from that evening are also worth a look. Murphy made 102 passes in that game: an extraordinary amount. Next came Chris Baird (99) and Paul Konchesky (88), showing that Wolfsburg completely failed to shut down our full-backs followed by the excellent Dickson Etuhu (74). All our other midfielders, plus Zamora, made more than 60 passes too. Murphy’s approaching a thousand successful Premier League passes this season – as this link shows.
That’s before we even take into account Murphy’s powers of leadership. He was immense on Thursday night and has even clarified the issue of his captain’s armband, which Clive Tyldesley said he’d discarded in disgust:
I’ve read and been told that the throwing of the armband was to do with some annoyance at myself or someone else, which is completely untrue. The simple fact is that the armband I have to wear in Europe is ridiculously huge and I have to tape it on my arm.
But the tape had come off and the armband wouldn’t stay on. So instead of throwing it in the middle of the pitch, I waited until I was near one of the goals and just threw it behind.
I take very seriously my role as captain and would never be so disrespectful to my team-mates or the supporters to be throwing the armband in disgust or anger. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone thinking it was disrespectful.