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In Defence Of Danny Murphy

Why Danny Murphy was right.




Written by Alex Corrigan.


The predictable self defence mechanisms were put up in response to Danny Murphy’s more than reasonable examination of the uber physical nature of the Premier League. The media, managers and players have attacked Murphy the same way in which they will attack whoever is scapegoated for England’s early exit from Euro 2012; rather than accept the country’s glaringly obvious failings, those in positions of power go into extreme denial and choose to point fingers as opposed to addressing the issues Murphy raised. Even the most ardent believer in the English way being the right way would have struggled to not see the irony of Kevin Davies being thrown on to the Wembley pitch to in a last ditch attempt to beat the mighty Montenegro, within a week of Murphy’s comments.


Those who feel Murphy’s comments were in some way below the belt, are likely to have only one response; ‘isn’t the physical nature what makes our game so great?’. According to you people, apparently so, but it is also to blame for the England national team being light-years behind the world’s leading footballing nations. Murphy didn’t directly accuse these teams and managers of being dirty, he just touched upon the subject of the ‘no brain’ physical approach these teams adopt, and it applies to countless teams down the years who have also adopted this approach; despite the hustle and bustle of the Premier League being one of its infamous qualities, it should never be a substitute for skill and technique, something it has unfortunately become. And for this precise reason, England embarass themselves regularly on the international front, but the men upstairs, the brains behind these English failings continue to rely on out-powering our opposition, whilst our opposition continue to out-football us. Steve Bruce put it better than I ever could when he recently jumped on the media band-wagon and attacked Murphy;

If we take competitiveness away, we will end up like France and Spain and Italy where it is just all technique.‘ Who would want England to be like three of the last four World Cup winning nations?

A brief scan through England’s record in the knock-out phases of major competition since 1966 makes for interesting reading; Spain, on home turf, are the only major scalp, whilst Paraguay, Denmark, Cameroon and Belgium make up the rest of England’s wins in the knock-out phases of World Cups and European Championships. Bafflingly, England are still classed by many as a footballing super power, but the truth is our international counterparts are striding further and further ahead into the modern game, whilst England stay rooted in old fashioned tactics that become more inappropriate with every game played. Our supposed ‘rivals’ have been developing facilities and technical training from a young age for years, and offer proof as to how far England are lagging behind the international elite. The amount of UEFA coaches qualified to the highest standard in Spain, Germany and Italy stands at 34,970, 29,240 and 23,995 respectively. In England it stands at the genuinely shocking number of 2, 769.


The criticism Murphy recieved suggests that the English mentality won’t be changing any time soon and appears to be on the brink of not even having the ability to evolve. A footballing revolution may be in order.



  1. 1970Blue

    October 21, 2010 at 10:02 am

    The English game is entertaining but as you said, there is a great deal of empasis put on the directness and speed. Skill is not always a priority. The current generation of English players isn’t on par with the best European levels and that is the fact. We are wrongly being led by the media hype that the teams is better than it actually is. You can also see the problem from the inability of English youngsters to break through to the first team level especially with the top sides.

  2. Lettraggad

    October 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Excellent piece , It nice too see somebody speaking up for Murphy who really said something that needed to be said. And how excellent of you too quote Steve Bruce who I actually have some time for. common sense says murphy knows what he is talking about and the outraged thats followed with virtually all managers including some genarally sensible ones taking offence is astonishing they seem mor upset about their hierarcy being challenged than the real issue. Its more like “how dares Murphy speak about managers”

  3. John

    October 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Excellent article; it is going to be a slow process to turn things around but the first moves have been made. Thanks for keeping it going.

  4. samuel

    October 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    The truth,awful as it may seem ,always hurts that,s why big Sam quickly denied Murphy,s comments about Blakcburn and other teams being overrobust and physical in their playing style ?

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