Murphy's law for Danny

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There was a groundswell of support for Danny Murphy's return to the England squad in recent weeks, but national team coach Sven-Goran Eriksson dashed the hopes of the Chester-born schemer by opting to leave him on the sidelines once again.

It seems a brave, or foolhardy, decision by Eriksson as Murphy has started the season in superb form and has been the driving force behind Charlton's surge to second place.

And while the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard can be assured of their place in the England squad, Murphy must have suspected that he had done enough to be named ahead of the likes of Jermaine Jenas and Alan Smith.

The stats make for comprehensive reading, with Murphy having racked up three goals and four assists in the Premiership this season. Only Beckham at Real Madrid can better that total of assists, while Lampard is the only England midfielder to score more often than Murphy this campaign.

TeamCharlton Real MadridChelseaLiverpool
Goal Attempts    
Shooting Accuracy46%29%67%44%
Chance Conversion23%0%42%6%
Goal Assists4521
Pass Completion %80%80%83%80%
TeamChelseaMan UnitedNewcastle/Spurs 
Goal Attempts    
Shooting Accuracy71%38%33% 
Chance Conversion29%0%0% 
Goal Assists000 
Pass Completion %77%85%82% 

Eriksson has been accused before of favouring players who ply their trade at so-called big clubs, and it could be argued that Murphy has suffered by being based at the Valley. Nonetheless, the former Liverpool player must be bitterly disappointed at his latest rejection and wondering just what he has to do to impress England's Swedish manager.