Former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy seems to be feeling sorry for himself in his new surroundings at Charlton. Calls were being made for Murphy to get a call-up to the England squad during the last international break, but fell on deaf ears. England played a friendly tonight against Argentina and Murphy wasn’t part of the squad called up for the game. Liverpool stars Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch were both involved in the game, Jamie Carragher only absent from the squad due to injury. Murphy is upset that he had to leave Liverpool, and seems to be more upset at the number of "foreigners" Liverpool now have.
Liverpool famously won a double in the 80’s with an FA Cup Final win that saw no Englishmen in the starting 11. For years Liverpool have made use of players not from England, although in the seventies and eighties it was more likely to be players from Ireland, Scotland or Wales rather than France, Spain or Germany. The fact that all European players are classed the same in employment rules laid down in Europe means that there’s no need for work permits for anyone as long as their passport is European. The unhappy Murphy says that if the FA can’t change the rules then they need to "influence" managers to pick and buy more English players. He says: "There surely has to be some kind of cut off – legally, nothing can be done so it has to be down to the game. If I was involved in the hierarchy I would be looking to influence the manager. There needs to be a blend, like at Chelsea, and it’s a worry."
Murphy was a useful player at times for Liverpool – but he was one of the players that had good and bad games. His goals against Manchester United amongst others meant that "Spud" left Anfield with a lot of respect from a lot of the fans, but his latest comments will come as a disappointment. When Rafa Benitez arrived at Anfield he had little time to assess the players in front of him, and a few players were told that they weren’t looking like they had made it into his plans as first-choice players. One of those players was Steve Finnan, but the Irish international was determined to earn his place and is now an important member of the squad. Murphy was already fed-up at Anfield though and as soon as Rafa told him where he stood he was ready to move on. That first season for Rafa ended of course with the European Cup success. Murphy was used at Anfield in the centre or right of midfield, and if he’d stayed he’d no doubt have got a chance under Benitez at some point during an injury-hit season.
For Murphy though, it was no use taking a chance of not getting picked. He says: "I could have stayed at Liverpool and probably picked up a Champions League winners medal. I might though have been sitting in the stand that’s no good for me. My personal satisfaction comes from playing at the end of the week. I like to go into work with a spring in my step, knowing there is a purpose. Some players don’t mind sitting on the bench. I’ll never understand that. Maybe it’s a foreign thing." Unfortunately for Danny, he maybe had his views of "foreign" players tarnished by some of those players at Anfield during his time that didn’t mind being fringe players. It’s unfair of him to assume all non-English players are the same though. Milan Baros left Liverpool during the close-season basically because he’d complained once too often about not being played for 90 minutes of every game. Djibril Cisse is another player that hates being on the bench and finds it hard to deal with the rotation system. At Liverpool though the squad is being strengthened in all areas, which means that for every player on the field there’s someone disappointed to not be playing. It’s important to take the chance when you get it, and accept the decisions of the manager when he makes them.
Murphy also had a dig at Tottenham, but says the main reason for choosing to join Charlton was because the Spurs boss at the time wasn’t good enough at English: "People said I had to go to Spurs instead of Charlton – why? I knew straight away when I met Jacques Santini I could not play for him. It was the language. He hardly spoke English so how could I communicate, relay feelings and talk to him?"
As if Murphy suddenly realised what he was sounding like, he said: "I’m not xenophobic in any way, let’s make that clear."
He felt it was then time to have a dig at Liverpool and new boss Rafa Benitez: "Liverpool signed about 10 players from Spain because that is what the manager knows best. Before I left, the English boys told chief executive Rick Parry we had begun to feel suffocated in the dressing room. We asked if it would happen again under another foreign manager and he assured us it wouldn’t. But it has."
It’s been widely reported that Rafa Benitez found a divided squad at Anfield when he arrived – the French speakers and the rest, stories even suggest one group would dine separately from the others at Melwood. Rafa sought to bring that to an end and despite what Murphy is trying to suggest, the English players at Anfield are happy with their lot.