Muhren urges Town to spend wisely

BLUES legendary Dutch midfielder Arnold Mühren has warned Jim Magilton about the importance of spending wisely and urged him to continue bring through home-grown talent.

Derek Davis

BLUES legendary Dutch midfielder Arnold Mühren has warned Jim Magilton about the importance of spending wisely and urged him to continue bring through home-grown talent.

Mühren is now a youth coach at the world renowned Ajax academy dedicated at producing the best in Dutch talent.

Although he does not know Magilton he is wishing him success at Portman Road and is happy to pass on a couple of tips.

He said: “Ipswich were close last season but it will be interesting to see which players leave, and of course who he gets in.

“I don't know Magilton but I would give him advice it is to watch a player himself five or six times.

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“You may see a player do well on game but it may be a one off and he is not as good as you first think.”

Although he knows dad Luuk, Mühren has not seen anything of Town's newest Dutch addition Pim Palkestein but believes coming from Heerenveen he will have a good grounding.

Understandably, the Ajax coach backs the Blues academy and feels more players should be given first team opportunities.

And the midfielder who joined Town in 1978 and helped them win the UEFA Cup three years later, has urged Magilton not to allow all the extra millions from Marcus Evans to upset the balance.

He said: “You should still produce your own players because you can get a lot of money by bringing through the right players into your first team.

“Even if you have a lot of money if you spend it wrong then it is a waste of money.

“You need to get the right mix.”

BEEN there, seen it - won it.

As a player Arnold Mühren collected his fair share of medals, UEFA CUP, European Cup-Winners, FA Cup (twice) and Dutch Cup with FC Twente Enschede, Ipswich Town, Manchester United and Ajax and a European Championship with Holland.

Now the cultured midfielder who enjoyed his 57th birthday a couple of weeks ago is enjoying bringing through a new generation of talented Dutch stars at one of the world's best known teams - Ajax.

In turn many go on to play for the Orangemen who have already lit up Euro 2008.

In the Holland squad going for glory now, Wesley Sneijder, Edwin Van Der Sar, Mario Melchiot, John Heitinga and Rafael Van Dert, came through the Ajax youth ranks and that gives Mühren great satisfaction.

Mühren is in charge of the 12-13-year age group at the club's academy, known as de Toekomst, a complex within sight of the Amsterdam Arena, playing a key role in one of the most successful breeding grounds for outstanding talent.

He said: “After 23 years in the limelight I was happy to take a step back and work behind the scenes.

“We are not a big country yet we produce a lot of good footballers. At Ajax it is important we see the players go through the ranks to the first team and to the national team.

“We have produced many players for the Dutch national team as you can see now in the Euros.”

Sadly for the Dutch side, hanging on to their top talent is difficult and that has been reflected in recent years in their failure to challenge for top European club honours.

Mühren said: “The big money is abroad and the big players move to other leagues.

“That is why we don't do to well in European competitions but the national side qualify for virtually every tournament.

“If we were able to keep all the talented players we would compete in the Champions' League but they go to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid or AC Milan.

“It is good for the players and good for those clubs but it is a pity for our own fans that they don't see them here.”

While Mühren and the other nine full-time coaches continue to produce stars Ajax hope to challenge PSV Eindhoven as Holland's top side and bringing in current national team coach Marco Van Basten as head coach next month may help.

Muhren said: “Marco van Basten was a very good player and he is an excellent coach. We are all very excited by him coming to Ajax and we hope that can take us forward.”

Before that though is the little matter of progressing in Austria/Switzerland and while Mühren was hugely impressed with the 3-0 win over Italy he adds a word of caution.

“I have been impressed by France and you can't underestimate Romania.

“Holland could not beat them in the qualifying stage. We lost 1-0 there and drew at home so they will be dangerous.

“That said I was hugely impressed with Holland against Italy, the world champions don't forget, and we did a very good job against them so we could do well - why not?”