Former Liverpool player Danny Murphy has questioned Aston Villa’s decision to bring in a set-piece coach.
That’s despite Villa scoring their first goal of a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United from a set-piece.
Indeed, technically three of Villa’s four goals this season have come from set-pieces with two others scored from penalty kicks.
Danny Ings kick-started his career at Villa following a £25 million move from Southampton with a superb bicycle kick in front of the Holte End.
Matty Cash ‘s throw-in was flicked on by Tyrone Mings to Ings, who smashed home acrobatically.
That move will have been designed by Austin MacPhee, the Northern Ireland assistant manager who joined Villa from Denmark’s FC Midtjylland, a specialist set-piece coach.
MacPhee worked with Villa vice-captain John McGinn during the pair’s time at St Mirren.
McGinn spoke highly of his compatriot when his appointment was confirmed.
“Austin’s the best in the business and hopefully we can thrive in that area this season, hopefully we can add to an area that, overall, we have kind of struggled on,” McGinn said.
Meanwhile Murphy, speaking on Match of the Day, has suggested that the appointment of a coach who specialises in set-pieces is unnecessary.
“You have got set-piece coaches, defensive coaches, forward coaches,” he said.
“I do not know what the actual coach does anymore, we have been having long throws for decades.
“I think set-pieces is something a normal coach can do, you do not need to bring in a specific set-piece coach, personally, I don’t think.”
For balance, Jermaine Jenas said that Villa are already reaping the rewards of a forward-thinking appointment.
“We are utilising from other sports aren’t we?” he said.
“In the NFL they have offensive and defensive coordinators.
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“Wherever you can lighten the load and increase value on your side, surely you are going to take that on?”
And presenter Gary Lineker had his say in the debate too.
“It just shows you how set-pieces really are, doesn’t it,” he said before adding: “It is the little fractions that might make the difference.”
And in response to Murphy, he said: “In great businesses it is about bringing in the people around you.”
What do you make of what Murphy has said? Have your say in the comments section below…