Forgive me if we keep talking about Danny Murphy here. He might have left Fulham but he’s always been an intelligent voice from inside the game, although followers of his new side didn’t appreciate his first foray into discussing life in elite football.
Murphy has joined a number of leading figures in the English game and overseas in calling for a change in the way we coach our young players in this country and he’s absolutely right. We could start with training a few more coaches.
It starts from what you are taught as youngsters. You need to change the whole philosophy of coaching in this country because a lot of clubs are trying to get a team on the pitch to win games, rather than look pretty and produce technically-gifted players.
On the flipside, we are talking about the quality of the Premier League in terms of what it brings to the fans – that intensity, passion, pace, end-to-end stuff. You don’t get both. It’s a fine balance between pleasing the fans and playing the right way. That is always a manager’s dilemma. Fans don’t want to see you being patient and sitting off.
Murphy learned about the science of football under possibly the most innovative coach around and certainly the one with the best track record of nurturing young talent. At Crewe, Dario Gradi ripped up the ridiculously dated coaching manuals and introduced his own ideas, with splendid results.
We played lots of different systems and positions. I remember playing sweeper once as a 15-year-old in the reserves. It was a brilliant education.
Murphy’s confident about England’s future, although I can’t help wondering Roy Hodgson’s side might have made the semi-finals had he taken Murphy – if only to break him off the bench with twenty minutes to go for his experience and spot-kick success rate.
Roy’s too clever not to accept change. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a huge improvement.