Irishman Brian Barry-Murphy is establishing a reputation in England as one of the brightest young managers in the game and has been tipped to have a big future.
The Rochdale boss is in just his second full season now as manager of the Greater Manchester club. He picked up the reins from Keith Hill in March 2019, helping Dale remain in League One when it had looked like relegation was on the cards.
Barry-Murphy and Rochdale finished 18th in the standings last season, but for a club which ranks right at the bottom end of the ladder when it comes to spending in the EFL, avoiding relegation to League Two was seen as a big success.
As a player, Barry-Murphy made over 300 appearances in the EFL for Preston, Sheffield Wednesday, Bury and Rochdale. He comes from a strong sporting background as his father Jimmy is a legend in Gaelic football.
If he continues to get results for Rochdale, it would be no surprise to see Barry-Murphy manage at a much higher level than he is now.
Comparisons to Pep’s Manchester City
The influence Pep Guardiola has had on English football is very evident up and down the leagues, but maybe none more so than at Rochdale. Although they did not always get positive results last season, Dale were praised on more than one occasion for their style of football.
In one game during the 2019/20 campaign, a 3-0 victory over Southend at Roots Hall, Dale scored a fantastic team goal that involved 16 passes before the ball was put into the back of the net. That goal was not a one-off either as Barry-Murphy’s side scored three goals early last season that came after at least 10 consecutive passes.
Barry-Murphy insists on his football philosophy being played by his team. This has resulted in a number of quality youngsters joining Dale on loan to gain some experience of playing under this system.
Irish influence at Crown Oil Arena
Dale will once again be aiming to stay in League One this season. They are 40/1 in the football betting from Space Casino for promotion, something which would be an incredible achievement if the Irishman was to be able to pull it off.
Barry-Murphy has assembled a squad with a strong Irish presence in it. Paul McShane is one of those who is enjoying playing for his compatriot. At the age of 34, the former Hull defender is at the back end of his career now but is able to use his experience to good effect in the young squad at Rochdale.
Gavin Bazunu is the latest Irish player to join up with Barry-Murphy. He was recently added to the squad on loan from Manchester City. The 18-year-old has represented Ireland at under-17 and under-21 levels. He picked up a clean sheet for Dale on his debut in their 1-0 victory over Huddersfield in the first round of the Carabao Cup and looks to be great business for Dale.
As ever at Rochdale, Barry-Murphy will be fully aware that he may lose one or two of his best players during the summer transfer window. With the planning he has in place though, Dale could be set to surprise a few people this season.