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He Should Do Well: Steve McNulty
Paul Grech and Andy Phillip

Telling an eighteen year old kid that he won’t be offered a full time contract – thereby not only shattering his life long dream but also effectively putting him out of a job – must rank among a manager’s most difficult tasks. Regardless of the number of times they are told to keep their feet on the ground and that only one in a thousand makes it, there is no denying that for most young players it is the last thing they expect to hear.

At least, today clubs offer more than a sympathetic pat on the back. Most try to fix the lads with trials at other clubs in the hope of offering them a foothold back into the game. As for the players, they can look at some encouraging examples, from David Platt (released by Manchester United before being taken on by Crewe) to Dougie Freedman (who re-started his career at Barnet after being freed by Tottenham).

Steve McNulty will be looking to take up that route. The 19 year old central defender has known for a number of weeks that he wasn’t going to be taken on at Liverpool and will this week be starting a month long loan period at Chester of convincing Mark Wright into offering him a contract.

And, in all honesty, he’s good enough. McNulty is what nowadays is termed an old-fashioned centre-back. His strengths lie in marking strikers out of the game rather than playing the ball out of defence. Although this isn’t fashionable, it doesn’t make it less effective.

McNulty is dominant in the air (with a penchant for scoring from set pieces), good at reading the game and, as you would expect from a Liverpool player, he’s also a decent passer of the ball. His major weakness is lack of pace but he certainly isn’t the first defender with that particular problem, as Mark Wright will know. With experience, he should be able to make up for that limitation as well.

A regular for the Under 17’s when he was still a schoolboy, McNulty eventually progressed to the Under 19’s whom he captained for most of the current season. He certainly doesn’t lack personality and that was often on display.

Hopefully, in the coming four weeks he’ll manage to show what he’s capable of doing. Most Liverpool fans who’ve seen McNulty play were disappointed at the club’s decision to let him go. It would be a shame if Chester were to do the same.

Apart from being a columnist at www.pyramidfootball.co.uk, Paul Grech also writes for the Liverpool sites www.walkonlfc.com and www.shanklygates.co.uk. He can be contacted on paul.grech@footie51.co.uk. Andy Phillip regularly follows Liverpool’s youth teams. He is also the webmaster at www.liverweb.org.uk.

 

 

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