He Should Do Well: Steve
Paul Grech and Andy
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Phillip regularly follows Liverpool’s youth
teams. He is also the webmaster at www.liverweb.org.uk.