Praise For Gilks And Halstead
Matt Murray has nothing but praise for Blackpool's two goalkeepers, following a week of training them in Portugal.
The 32-year-old former Wolves man has built up a good relationship with Matt Gilks and Mark Halstead, after accepting an invite from his ex team-mate Paul Ince to come and work with the pair.
An ex-England Under-21 international, Murray was forced to retire from the game three years ago due to injury - but he's revelled in putting the boots and gloves back on and joining the lads on the training ground.
"It's been great. When the gaffer phoned me up and gave me the opportunity, straight away I looked at the diary and knew I was free so I jumped at it," he told the official website.
"To be back out there serving balls, doing keeper sessions and having the banter has been different class. To work with Gillo and Mark has been really great as well. Literally from the first second they have been spot on. I've been very impressed.
"To come back at the level they did, literally from day one, technically sharp and with their fitness was really good. They've got a great rapport with each other, a great relationship and respect for each other."
Murray sees plenty of similarities from his own days of breaking through to the first-team at Wolves, with the blend of youth and experience working well.
"Mark is at the age where I was and Michael Oakes was a similar age to what Gillo is and I really looked up to him, and we're still really good friends now," he said. "We pushed each other but always worked each other right and encouraged each other. I see a lot of that now in these two. Gillo is a top, top class goalkeeper but Mark has got so much potential if he keeps putting in the hard work."
Having just completed part one of his UEFA A Licence, on the back of the B Licence for goalkeepers and outfield, Murray is well on the way to a coaching career, with his ultimate aim to be a manager one day. The hands-on experience gained from this trip has been extremely beneficial.
"To be given the licence to work the keepers has been excellent and sort of doing it for real," he admitted. "You can do what you like in a classroom but getting out and actually doing it for real is great.
"This has been a great bit of my development and I want to be a student of the game. For my learning curve of becoming a coach it's been great and an invaluable experience," he added.