Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray believes the target man style of forward is returning to prominence across the English game.
The 34-year-old has found the net three times so far during the 2018/19 campaign, with a brace in the side’s 2-2 draw with Fulham at the Amex Stadium before the international break – and he believes that ever-changing perceptions in football mean that styles will continue to rotate.
He said, “I think the target man is coming back to the fore - we went through a small period where the emphasis was on small and quick forward players, false nines and things like that – but now teams are coming back to the target man type who they can build play through.
“That gives others space and time – I think it’s the changing nature of the game that happens through different eras and times, because when everyone does something and it works, everyone follows suit - we get these evolutions where formations come and go.”
“In other leagues the games can sometimes be refereed differently and there might be less contact allowed. It can take people time to get used to that physical contact and the boundaries over here.
“Whatever level I’ve been at, my game has always been effective – it seems to get more plaudits now because it’s in the Premier League, but I’ve been doing it for a while.”
Now in his second spell with the Seagulls and approaching his 35th birthday at the end of the month, the striker also reflected on the positive impact that playing in the top flight could have on the latter stages of his career.
“Playing in this division could definitely prolong my time in the game because of the schedule and the fact there’s more time between matches.
“You don’t play as many midweek games, so you have more time to regenerate your body.
“You can never look too far ahead in football because you don’t know what will happen – if you had asked me four years ago what I’d be doing at 34, I might not have said I’d be in this situation.
“Sometimes I take a little bit longer to look around full stadiums before matches, because I know it won’t last forever.”
Chris Hughton’s men travel along the south coast tomorrow evening to face Southampton at St Mary’s in their third away game of the campaign - Murray looked back at Albion’s away form during the 2017/18 campaign, as well as reflecting on the exploits away from home so far this season.
“I scored my first goal against West Ham in October, and it was the team’s first away win of the season – I think you could see in our play that we started believing in what we were doing and that we belonged at this level and it grew from there.
“The mentality and work ethic this season isn't different to last year - we’re still pulling in the same direction and want the same thing.
“I think certain games this season have seen us show different characteristics, and that demonstrates how we’ve adapted to the league.”