Former Donegal corner back Eamon McGee has credited Jim McGuinness for a drastic transformation in Michael Murphy.
Talking with OTB AM McGee said the Murphy before an u21 stint with McGuinness as manager, and the Muphy afterwards are two completely different players.
The All Ireland winner saw big changes in the Donegal captain during that time. “Yeah, I think the big one for Michael is that he played u21 under Jim McGuinness and Jim gave him a role as a leader, as the captain.
“Michael has always had unbelievable ability and unbelievable talent, there’s no question about it, but Jim just gave him the reins and he just took to it, he was talking in the dressing room.”
McGee noted that it isn’t just off the pitch were Murphy has improved. “I’ve given out to Michael since he’s come into the squad. He couldn’t tackle, he had no work rate and he was just a general GAA forward.
“He’s completely changed it he puts in a massive shift every game he plays in, he puts his body on the line and that’s the seismic shift in attitude he’s had over the last few years.”
When it comes to the Glenswilly star’s preferred position, McGee believes he prefers being further forward. “Michael is just one of those lazy forwards, in whatever position he does the less work he just wants to be, and that’s nearest the goal.”
“He just loves being in about the goal, he’s just got such an eye for goal and that’s his natural position. Hopefully when the lads step up he can finish his last few years in Donegal playing inside at full forward.”
McGee does say, however, that Murphy’s talents lend to him coming deeper during the match. “Michael is so good, and he’s just so good on the ball and he always makes the right call that inevitably he will find himself out in the middle of the park.”
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Ulster Senior Football Final, McGee commented on how Fermanagh’s style of play could affect where Murphy ends up playing. “Will there be much point in leaving him inside against Fermanagh when there’s about fourteen men in front of him?”
“The ideal situation, and I think everyone in Donegal would be in agreement, is that you would like to see Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty on the edge of the square, you know, in a forward position.”