Getting used to a new way of playing

Glenn Murray has certainly proved he can adapt to new situations and must do the same again as Bournemouth aim for Premier League survival. By Andrew McDermott.

Glenn Murray is proof you never stop learning, even as a footballer.

The 32-year-old made the move to Bournemouth over the summer, despite ending last season in fine form for Crystal Palace, and is having to get used to a new way of playing.

A long-term injury to first-choice frontman Callum Wilson has handed Murray the chance to secure a regular first-team place but he must adapt to the possession-based approach that has made Bournemouth such a joy to watch under Eddie Howe.

“We build attacks slower, we keep the ball for longer. I’m adapting slowly but surely,” he said. “It’s taken me a while to understand the way we play. It’s different to my previous club. We’re a more counter-attacking team than Crystal Palace.”

The style of play is certainly different to anything he must have encountered during the early days of his career, with the striker having had an unusual route to the Premier League.

The Premier League must have seemed a world away for Cumbria-born Murray when he started out at his local non-league team Workington Reds as a teenager. He then had the chance to travel to the United States for a trial with Wilmington Hammerheads — two divisions below the MLS — having played with the brother of their coach David Irving, a former Everton player.

It was a stark contrast to the cold, muddy conditions at home and Murray said in 2013: “I learned from it. I was out of my comfort zone, playing in baking hot conditions so you didn’t want to be chasing the ball all afternoon. You had to keep it, make the other lot work. The whole thing was a life lesson.”

He would return to England over the winter once the American season was over and moved up the ranks, first at Barrow and then Carlisle, who he helped to successive promotions from the Conference to League One.

The goals continued to flow after he joined Rochdale and he earned a GBP300,000 switch to Brighton in January 2008. He continued to improve during his time with the Seagulls, scoring 22 goals in the title-winning 2010/11 season to finish as the second-top scorer in League One.

He rejected the offer of a new deal, though, and when his contract expired he made the controversial move to Brighton’s rivals Crystal Palace. The step up to the Championship proved difficult at first, although he did head an extra-time winner as Palace beat Manchester United at Old Trafford to reach the League Cup semi-finals, and a 19-match goal drought affected his confidence.

It was a very different story the following season, especially when manager Dougie Freedman left Palace and was replaced by Ian Holloway. Murray enjoyed the best season of his career and by February only Lionel Messi had scored more goals in the top two divisions of Europe’s major leagues.

He ended the season with 31 goals in all competitions to help the Londoners reach the play-offs and that brought a semi-final reunion with Brighton but the season ended in contrasting fortunes for player and club. Murray ruptured his cruciate knee ligaments in the first leg and was forced to miss the Wembley final but Palace went on to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Murray remained sidelined until February 2014 when he got his first taste of top-flight action in a home win against West Brom, while a penalty against Swansea in March proved to be his only goal of the season.

He dropped back down to the Championship to join Reading on loan for the first half of the 2014/15 campaign and impressed with eight goals in 18 games before returning to Selhurst Park in January.

Back to full fitness, this time he showed the Premier League what he was capable of, enjoying a run of six goals in as many games from February to April to help Palace avoid relegation under Alan Pardew.

This summer saw several new strikers arrive at the club and when Palace accepted a bid for Murray on deadline day, he decided it was time to move on.

“Palace are still progressing but for me personally I’m ready for a new challenge — and it was down here,” he said. “When a club shows interest and a manager wants you it is always nice.”

With Wilson topping the Premier League goal charts, Murray has had to be patient but his first start brought his first goal in the 1-1 draw against Watford, although a saved penalty meant it could have been even better.

Now Murray is learning the Bournemouth way of playing as his team-mates adapt to their new striker.

Howe said: “He’s a totally different player to Callum; we are not comparing the two, what they bring are totally different strengths and we are going to have to mould ourselves around Glenn slightly, like we did with Callum.”

Murray has certainly proved he can adapt to new situations and must do the same again as Bournemouth aim for Premier League survival.

FACTFILE Name: Glenn Murray Position: Striker Club: Bournemouth D.O.B: 25/9/1983

Moment to remember: Scoring an extra-time winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Moment to forget: His 19-match goal drought for Palace during the 2011/12 season.

© PA Sport