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How Glenn Murray has become crucial to Pardew’s Palace

The Boot Room

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Everyone’s dream as a professional footballer is to make it to the big-time and in England that means the Premier League. But just because you’re a pro a few divisions down the pyramid, it doesn’t mean that you no longer strive to play against the best.

There are only a few examples of players who have begun in the lowly depths of English football that have had success in the Premier League later on in their careers.

Everyone’s favourite Jimmy Bullard started off at Ebbsfleet United, Rickie Lambert has scored in all four tiers of professional English football and – blast from the recent past – Steve Finnan started out at Welling United before making a Champions League final appearance for Liverpool.

So when a player, whose name is common with the 200 blokes who scream at their local team’s barely professional side, makes it to the big-time – it’s considered pretty surprising.

If we look at Glenn Murray, it wasn’t just starting out at someone unheard of in the States, but it was also being shunned when he thought he had finally made it.

He has enjoyed a run in the first-team of late, and it’s difficult to think of anyone who is more deserving.

Under new-ish gaffer Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace have won eight out of their last 13 games. And despite being out on loan for the first half of the season at Reading, Murray has been central to their jump up the table.

His career, like aforementioned, began in the unknown. Starting out at Workington Reds, who are currently play-off contenders in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League – the seventh tier of English football – Murray decided to chance his arm and move across the pond.

It seemed to work; after scoring a few goals for Wilmington Hammerheads, a third-tier side, he moved back to blighty – to Barrow. Seven in seven meant another transfer. This time Carlisle, and he helped them gain play-off promotion from the Conference, and the League Two title a year later.

Next came two loan spells at Stockport County and then more importantly Rochdale, where he made a name for himself; one goal every two league games. Brighton came calling.

Four successful seasons in League One, scoring almost 60 goals meant Championship side Palace were interested. It didn’t click in his first season at Selhurst Park, but in his second he scored 31 in 45 games, and Palace were promoted.

At most of his teams down the years, it’s obvious that if the 31-year-old plays well, then so does his team. He’s integral to anything his club does.

He finally made it to the summit. The Premier League. However one successful season in the Championship didn’t mean he’d smash it in the Premier League. Nine years ago he was in the Conference, surely it would be too far to climb?

In his first season it showed. Injured for the first half of the season, Murray was shown faith. But a solitary goal in 14 games didn’t show much promise. Shunned – sent on loan to Reading at the start of this season. But it was a blessing in disguise and reignited his goalscoring touch, grabbing eight in 18.

So why am I saying all this? Well now Murray has been shown faith, once again, by a rejuvenated Palace. Under Pardew, Murray has featured in nine of the silver fox’s 13 games. Of those nine, seven have been wins, and in his last four games, Murray has scored four times.

A good return for someone who never thought he’d be playing and scoring against Arsenal.

He’s vital to The Eagles. Playing as the spearhead of a front three, he uses his old-fashioned centre-forward aerial ability to knock the ball down; a trait becoming rarer and rarer in the top flight, and therefore perhaps more valuable, and so it seems.

Having the pace of Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie on either side of Murray means that as soon as he has won his header, he knows that they’re going to take on the full-back, and he needs to be in the box. As well as scoring goals, Murray has become a target man, the biggest and most influential cog in the Palace counter-attack.

He’s crucial to the Premier League side. He’s achieved what so many others down the English football pyramid dream of; finally reaping the benefits of more than a decade of hard-work, willingness and unquestionable desire, despite a few hiccups along the way.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Crystal Palace

World Cup winner Andre Schurrle would be a marquee signing for Crystal Palace

Max Cohen

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Andre Schurrle
Photo: Getty Images

Reports in the Italian media from Calciomercato have linked Borussia Dortmund attacker Andre Schurrle with a summer move to Crystal Palace.

Although the German international has endured a disappointing season at Dortmund, a move to Crystal Palace would be a fantastic way to revive his career in England and bolster Palace’s attack.

The 27-year-old is a versatile player and can feature as either a left-winger, centre forward, or a central attacking midfielder.

This past season, Schurrle was hard-hit by injuries and made just eleven Bundesliga starts. In those limited appearances the German contributed six assists, but only notched a single goal.

The ex-Chelsea man certainly has the quality to succeed in the Premier League, as he contributed eight goals and two assists in his one full season at Stamford Bridge.

(Photo by Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

Those numbers came from just 15 starts; imagine what the attacker could do if he was handed a starting spot and was given the confidence boost of regular playing time.

A move to Selhurst Park would undoubtedly provide Schurrle an outlet to play consistently, as the Eagles are in need of a top-quality goalscorer who can fill the centre-forward position.

In addition, a player of Schurrle’s immense experience would be welcomed by Roy Hodgson in SE25.

The 27-year-old has 52 European appearances to his name, starring in both the Champions League and Europe League, as well as a glittering international record that includes 22 goals and a World Cup medal.

Under the management of Hodgson and playing alongside exciting attacking talents like Wilfried Zaha, Andre Schurrle would thrive at Selhurst Park in an ascendant Crystal Palace side.

The transfer to south London would benefit all parties involved, giving the German a second chance at success in England and granting Palace the services of an experienced European attacker.

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Crystal Palace should resist the signing of Stoke midfielder Joe Allen

Max Cohen

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Joe Allen
Photo: Getty Images

Reports this week in The Guardian suggested that Crystal Palace have registered interest in signing Joe Allen following Stoke City’s relegation.

Further reports in The Sun claimed the Potters are seeking £20 million for the Welsh international, a hefty price tag that should deter Palace, as they already have sufficient options in the centre of midfield.

During the 2017/18 campaign, Yohan Cabaye, Luka Milivojevic, and James McArthur have all been excellent for the south Londoners.

Between the three, the midfielders have contributed 15 goals and three assists in the Premier League- impressive numbers considering Palace’s goal-shy start to the season under Frank de Boer.

In addition, Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a commanding presence in midfield at Selhurst Park. Even though injury hampered his year, the Englishman left his mark at Palace and should be targeted for a permanent deal this year.

(during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 28, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

It is clear that the Eagles have a wealth of options in the centre of the park, and their midfield repertoire was given a boost this week when the Evening Standard reported the club was confident that Cabaye would sign a new contract this summer.

With the influential Frenchman securing his future at Selhurst Park, there is simply no need for the services of Joe Allen in SE25.

Add in the Welshman’s exorbitant £20 million price-tag (which is £7 million more than Palace paid for Cabaye in 2015), it would be a foolish decision for Roy Hodgson to buy the midfielder.

Crystal Palace should resist the urge to splurge for Joe Allen, as money would be best spent on purchasing a top-class striker rather than bolstering an already-impressive midfield.

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Ryan Fredericks would be perfect for Crystal Palace if Fulham lose at Wembley

The 25-year-old has earned praise for his performances throughout the season.

Josh Kerr

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Ryan Fredericks
Photo: Getty Images

Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks is just days away from the biggest game of his career and yet the 25-year-old is still being linked with a move away from Craven Cottage.

According to the Evening Standard, the 25-year-old has emerged as a target for Crystal Palace as the Englishman reaches the end of his Cottagers contract.

The former Tottenham prospect helped his current side reach the play-off final last week. However, if the Cottagers are to miss out at Wembley then he may be tempted to consider offers from the top-flight.

The full-back is still yet to sign a new deal and after 47 appearances and an impressive seven assists this season, he has quickly has emerged as one of the hottest properties in the EFL Championship.

After making the PFA Championship Team of the Year, Fredericks remains one of Slavisa Jokanovic’s most important players and if they are to fall short at the final hurdle then Crystal Palace would be the perfect destination for the right-back to play in England’s top flight.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

With Joel Ward likely to leave Selhurst Park next month and, despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka performing well since making the jump from the academy, Fredericks could be a long-term addition at full-back. With his contract soon up at Craven Cottage, he could be one of the bargains of the summer window.

Roy Hodgson and his sporting director Dougie Freedman were even in attendance as Fulham beat Derby 2-0 on Monday to set up the showdown with Steve Bruce’s Villa, which will have sparked the former England international’s attention.

Fredericks started his career in north London with Tottenham Hotspur, progressing through the club’s academy system before signing a professional contract in 2010.

However, an exit from the Lilywhites and a number of loan moves left the young full-back frustrated with game time and it was fellow London side Fulham who eventually took a gamble – a risk that has paid dividends ever since.

The versatile defender has one appearance for England’s Under-19 side to his name, and he is eligible to play for Guyana.

Whether Hodgson swoops for Fredericks could be decided on Saturday. The Fulham defender will likely commit his future to Craven Cottage should Fulham win at Wembley, but the Premier League will remain a possibility even if Jokanovic’s side are unsuccessful.

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