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View From The Town End - Glenn Murray

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A prolific goalscorer throughout his career, Glenn Murray became Reading's fifth and final signing of the summer transfer window. We get the lowdown on the Royals' new hit man thanks to Alisdair Kemp from Crystal Palace blog Five Year Plan.

Tom Dulat

It is with heavy hearts that Palace fans say farewell - albeit hopefully only temporarily - to Glenn Murray. A Rickie Lambert-esque hardened Northerner from the lower leagues, Murray's footballing rags to riches tale is as inspirational as it is impressive; his indomitable work ethic no doubt honed from grafting his way up through the levels.

Having defected from bitter rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in 2011, a certain level of popularity among the Palace faithful was always assured for Glenn. His performances the following season were frustratingly erratic, yielding just seven goals in 43 appearances. However, the potential was clearly there: the superb first touch, confident hold-up play and incessant movement. The presence of Darren Ambrose in that team took the edge off Murray's game as the midfielder would often drift into Glenn's territory rather than looking to cross for him.

The promotion-winning 2012/13 season really showcased him at his absolute finest. 30 League goals in 42 appearances speaks for itself. Rarely does a player look so out of place in the Championship but the almost laughable ease at times with which Murray tore defences apart and found the back of the net put him on another level.

Glenn's popularity inevitably soared - but not only thanks to his goalscoring exploits. He is always fair in his play; rarely committing fouls that look suspiciously deliberate despite being perpetually fouled himself. In a rare stroke of class for a footballer he also infamously elected not to take the penalty that would have seen him notch a hat-trick against his former employers, Brighton back in late 2012.

The ACL injury sustained during the play-offs sidelined him for a large chunk of last season. For any player, adapting to English football's highest level is a tall task, let alone when that player is working his way back up to fitness. Though not looking out of place among the elite, he struggled to impose his game on more wily Premier League defences.

So just what sort of frontman can Royals fans expect to see leading the line? I would put him in the same mould as Radamel Falcao - which undoubtedly at first seems a puerile comparison but in the sense that no single attribute stands out for either of the two, they are similar.

In other words, Murray is not the quickest, nor is he the strongest - but he uses what athleticism he has to his advantage. Defensively he will often work hard and though the running is sometimes misplaced, his enthusiasm spurs on those behind him to follow suit. In terms of goals, his long-range shooting is solid without being spectacular, as is his heading. However, crucially he is one of those rare strikers capable of providing all kinds of goals: adept with both feet, strong enough in the air and with great reading of the game.

Murray's contrast in fortunes between the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons demonstrated that the team must look to play wide to get the best out of him. With Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie often hogging their respective touchlines and peppering the box with crosses, Murray really came into his own. He needs to be the focal point of the attack; wingers venturing inside and crossing paths with him fail to capitalise on his instinct in the penalty area.

Premiership defences have proven quite the obstacle for Glenn thus far but for Championship defences he is a nightmare. Royals fans must bear in mind that, even should he take some time to regain match sharpness in his first few games, his reputation will mean that his mere presence on the pitch will provide a real distraction for the opposition whereby space will open up elsewhere for others to exploit.

You can find Crystal Palace's Five Year Plan at the web address http://www.fiveyearplanfanzine.co.uk/, and you can follow them on Twitter at @FYPFanzine.