Lewis Dunk's England call-up thoroughly deserved but did Gus Poyet's opinion deny Glenn Murray an England cap? - Ian Hart

Glenn Murray. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Glenn Murray. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

So, this week started with Lewis Dunk becoming the fourth Albion player in history to be called up for the full England squad. Tommy Cook, Peter Ward and Steve Foster being the other three.

Some impressive performances both this season and last have seen Dunk now receive the recognition he so richly deserves. There was a legitimate debate back in the summer that he might have done enough to have made Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, but that didn’t happen for whatever reason.

One thing is for sure if he gets a chance over the upcoming international weekend, in my opinion, he won’t look out of place on the international stage.

Prior to that the Albion had started the weekend well with all three points in the Friday night encounter with West Ham at the Amex. The victory, courtesy of a classic textbook poacher’s goal from Glenn Murray indicated how far the Albion have come in a short time.

The way they closed the game off, despite a spirited show from the Hammers, was extremely impressive. Would they have won that game this time last year?

The 1-1 home draw with Everton last season a case in point.

Travelling back on Seagull Travel on Friday evening, Murray was the talk at our end of the bus and the impact a certain Gus Poyet has had on his life and football career.

A wise man once rightly pointed out that the word ‘IF’ is half of ‘LIFE’, and everyone’s lives contain a number of ‘what ifs?’

For Murray and many Albion fans, the summer of 2011 will throw up such a question. What if the club and specifically Gus Poyet had agreed new contract terms with Murray.He would have signed a new deal, Poyet wouldn’t have gone for his second option after Murray’s departure to Crystal Palace, Craig Mackail-Smith, who with the best will in the world was never in Murray’s class, in fact nowhere near.

If Poyet had rated Murray, they paid him what he wanted and Muzza had stayed injury free, the following might well have happened. Murray would now be in his testimonial year. Even allowing for changes at management level, I believe the Albion would have reached the Premier League earlier than they did in 2017, and with that would have come increased income from TV money, etc.

As I stated in this column a couple of weeks ago, with a decade playing for the Seagulls, Murray would have surpassed Tommy Cook, Peter Ward and Bobby Zamora as the greatest striker to play for the club (and to be frank, with his performances at 35 now, he’s not far off that mantle now).

I also firmly believe that an in-form Murray in a successful Albion side playing attractive football would have resulted in Glenn getting an England call up, possibly even five years ago.

Unfortunately, while the Albion did end up playing with the cream of English football, several of my other predictions didn’t happen and arguably all to Murray’s detriment.

On a positive note, Murray is clearly not openly bitter about the whole situation. He came back, got his head down and worked hard for the team. He is an Albion legend, whether it’s before Wardy and Zamora is up for debate, and I do hope that when his career ends, the club – while not a full-blown testimonial game – do give him the recognition he so richly deserves.

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