Glenn Murray: Bringing The Role of a Target Man Back into Fashion

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray has been scoring goals freely in recent weeks, and extended his season tally to thirteen goals with the decisive strike in The Seagulls’ famous win over Arsenal last Sunday.

Murray has overcome two underwhelming spells in the Premier League at Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth to prove his worth at the Amex Stadium. It’s been a rollercoaster journey for the 34-year-old, who’s spent large portions of his playing career plying his trade in the lower divisions.

It’s refreshing to see an old-fashioned English target man thriving in the technical modern game, and it’d be beautiful to see a late bloomer like Murray enjoy a fairy tale end to his career. Gareth Southgate could be the man to complete the dream by handing him his international debut for The Three Lions.

According to The Sun, this dream could soon become a reality, and it’s clear that Murray has something beneficial to offer the national squad. Target men such as Grant Holt, Andy Carroll and Kevin Davies were practically overlooked by former England managers, but Murray will be hoping to revive the role of the ‘target man’ if given the chance at international level.

The 34-year-old broke into football in unorthodox fashion, and only joined his first club, non-league side Workington Reds in 2002, at the age of 18-years-old. He attempted to pursue a professional career by travelling to the United States in 2004, but his move failed to receive any notoriety from clubs in the Football League.

Instead, Murray was forced to resort to Conference North outfit Barrow, albeit for a brief period of seven matches. His return of seven goals during that period encouraged Conference Premier side Carlisle United to invest in the Englishman.

Carlisle United achieved back-to-back promotions during his spell in Cumbria, but Murray was unable to make an impression amidst their success. Therefore, he was forced to drop back down to League Two and opted for a move to Rochdale after a short-term loan spell.

26 goals for Rochdale later, and Murray had earned himself a return to League One with Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls were under new ownership during Murray’s first season at the club and the future looked very promising indeed.

It took three seasons for Murray to prove himself at the Withdean Stadium, but it was definitely worth waiting for. Murray converted 22 times in 42 matches in League One as Brighton went onto clinch the league title and secure promotion to the Championship.

Glenn Murray during his first spell at Brighton & Hove Albion in League One.

Suddenly, Murray shocked his supporters by controversially switching to arch-rivals Crystal Palace. It left a bitter taste in the supporters’ mouths, and he propelled them to promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs with 31 goals in 45 appearances in his second season.

A serious knee injury during the Championship play-offs semi-final against Brighton forced him to miss the first six months of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign. He was unable to regain his goal scoring form, and netted just once in 14 outings.

Back to the Championship he went, this time with Reading on a six-month loan spell. He rediscovered his confidence in the final third at the Madejski Stadium, and was seemingly set for Premier League action back at Selhurst Park.

It seemed that he was destined to fail in the Premier League, after failing to make the cut at both Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth. Then, in July 2016, a forgiving Brighton & Hove Albion offered him a lifeline.

Murray repaid The Seagulls for their forgiveness with 23 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions. Another season in the Premier League was on the horizon, but could Murray overcome his Premier League curse, and finally flourish on the biggest stage in England?

Six games went by without a goal for Murray, although he didn’t complete any of Brighton’s opening six league fixtures. His season came to life in Brighton’s comprehensive 3-0 win at West Ham when he bagged himself two goals.

From that point, the sky was the limit! He’s netted six goals in his previous six league appearances and looks set to work his way into the plans of Gareth Southgate. Considering his age, what a magical ending to his career it’d be if he can not only thrive in Brighton’s blue & white strip but also for his country!

George Bennett

My name is George Bennett, I'm 19-years-old and I'm the founder and administrator for GB Articles Football Blog. I've been writing from the age of 12-years-old and decided to create my own blog to spread my passion for the beautiful game. The blog was created in May 2016 and I've began to assemble a talented group of writers since April 2017. I mainly cover the Premier League, although I also base some reports on the Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga and more!

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