Football, Premier League

Glenn Murray stikes to question Gareth Southgate’s ignorance of age

GLENN MURRAY is providing an inconvenient truth that flies in the face of Gareth Southgate’s switch to youth.

The England manager has snubbed experience for raw potential in his latest squad as he looks to build for the future.

Richard Pelham

Glenn Murray turns the ball home to fire Brighton into a first half lead
 Murray celebrates as Brighton take the lead against West Ham

Getty – Contributor

Murray celebrates as Brighton take the lead against West Ham

But the unrelenting Indian summer to Glenn Murray’s career is something that is becoming increasingly hard to disregard the more it goes on.

It continued here as the Brighton striker, who turned 35 last month, hit his FIFTH Premier League goal of the season already to end West Ham’s recent revival.

That puts him equal with Harry Kane as the top-scoring Englishman in the top flight.

And with Southgate light on forwards following Jamie Vardy’s retirement, it begs the question: Can Southgate keep on ignoring the veteran if he keeps this up?

 Declan Rice produced another assured display in the centre of midfield

Richard Pelham

Declan Rice produced another assured display in the centre of midfield
 Fabian Balbuena somehow heads wide with the goal at his mercy for West Ham

Richard Pelham

Fabian Balbuena somehow heads wide with the goal at his mercy for West Ham

The likelihood is no matter what Murray does, it is probably too late for him to receive international honours.

Legendary status beckons at Brighton though with this his 99th goal across his two spells at the club.

While he will go down in history as a nemesis of West Ham, having now scored six goals against the East Londoners – more than against any other club.

Both these sides had beaten Manchester United this season despite an average to poor campaign so far.

Though that probably tells more about the depth of despair Jose Mourinho and his side have plumbed this term than anything else.

 

In fact, Albion’s only win in all competitions this season came against the Red Devils back in August.

While West Ham had turned them over 3-1 last time out to heap the pressure back on the beleaguered Portuguese.

That display was a long way away from this one though as West Ham failed to capitalise on a bright start.

The nearest Manuel Pellegrini’s men came to troubling their hosts in the first half came when Marko Arnautovic’s acrobatic volley was deflected wide by Murray.

While Pedro Obiang failed to scramble in after Albion struggled to clear a Fabian Balbuena header.

Other than that, there was little for Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy to worry about in the first half on the day they had both committed their long-term future to the clubs.

The Albion centre-backs each penned fresh, five-year contracts as reward for their impressive partnership since Duffy arrived from Blackburn two years ago.

 

Dunk, who some felt might have, like Murray, earned an England call-up by now, has been the poster boy for the Seagulls academy having made over 200 first-team appearances.

If Southgate was watching this game his primary interest was more likely to be West Ham whizkid Declan Rice.

The Londoner, whose three Republic of Ireland caps came in friendlies, is considering switching his allegiance to England and has copped some flak for his potential defection.

But Brighton boss Hughton, himself born in London but who played 53 times for Ireland, is sympathetic to the 19-year-old’s dilemma, insisting only he can make the eventual decision.

 Mark Noble shows the frustration as West Ham again toil in front of goal

Reuters

Mark Noble shows the frustration as West Ham again toil in front of goal

He was solid here in holding midfield, regularly sweeping up neatly and nullifying Solly March, another young Englishman with a bright future, who was playing as No10 in place of the injured Pascal Gross.

The hectic start to the game came with few clear-cut chances but on 25 minutes Murray broke the deadlock in characteristically clinical style.

Andriy Yarmolenko was robbed of the ball near the halfway line by Beram Kayal and following a one-two with Anthony Knockaert, the Israeli swung a cross into the six-yard area.

There arrived an Murray, ghosting in unmarked, to fire the ball past a helpless Lukasz Fabianski and torment his opponents once again.

He netted in both Brighton’s league victories over West Ham last term but the Eastenders once again to learn lessons from the past over the wily centre-forward.

After the Irons’ 3-0 home defeat to Brighton last term in front of the Sky camera, Gary Neville had blasted Arnautovic for thinking “he is better than he is”.

 

The Austrian has transformed into one of the Premier League’s most dangerous players since but had an off-night here – ironically again live on Sky with Neville watching.

The forward did see a low shot repelled by Maty Ryan earlier in the second half as the visitors improved.

Balbuena then wasted West Ham’s best opportunity by flicking wide a header from Felipe Anderson’s pinpoint corner at the far post.

Jose Izquierdo, who also scored in both wins over West Ham last term, came on for a late cameo in place of Alireza Jahanbakhsh who was making his first league start.

While Murray had a chance to wrap up the win in the final 20 minutes as he headed agonisingly over twice in quick succession.

West Ham spent around £100million in the summer but none of their signings look like coming close to the value for money Murray has provided Albion since arriving for £3m.

And as he closes in on a century of Seagulls strikes, the evergreen forward is single-handedly posing a counter argument to Southgate’s no oldies allowed policy.

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