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Jamie Mulgrew is a future Linfield manager, says current boss David Healy

 

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David Healy is predicting big things for Jamie Mulgrew beyond the Linfield captain's playing days

David Healy is predicting big things for Jamie Mulgrew beyond the Linfield captain's playing days

PMAKER

David Healy is predicting big things for Jamie Mulgrew beyond the Linfield captain's playing days

David Healy believes inspirational captain Jamie Mulgrew has the qualities to be a Linfield boss in the future.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer still has plenty more he wants to achieve at Windsor Park but, down the line, he has suggested that midfielder Mulgrew could make the step into management.

With the Blues winning the 2019-2020 Danske Bank Premiership crown on a points-per-game basis after the season was not completed, 34-year-old Mulgrew now has a staggering eight League titles to his name, with three of them coming in the last four seasons under Healy's leadership.

The manager and skipper dovetail brilliantly at Linfield. Mulgrew has immense respect for Healy and how he runs the club and, clearly, the feeling is mutual.

"Jamie Mulgrew has been a catalyst for Linfield Football Club and will continue to do that, not only as a player but, in time, I believe, as a member of the staff and manager eventually," says Healy.

"He has now won eight League titles which is phenomenal. I was fortunate to win one at Rangers as a player and I take great pride in that so what Jamie has done is exceptional.

"He has been at the club a long time and knows the demands of the club and continues to work hard to get the best out of himself and those around him.

"All the players deserve huge credit for their efforts last season, be it Jamie, Andy Waterworth, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke, Niall Quinn, Mark Haughey, Kirk Millar and Mark Stafford, and all the players who have been at Linfield for a long time and consistently show their quality.

"You think of others like Joel Cooper and Jordan Stewart and Shayne Lavery and Bastien Hery, who we brought in last summer, and a young player like Stephen Fallon who has been sensational, fulfilling the potential I always knew he had. We have built on what was there before and we want to continue building."

Healy and his Linfield players are back in training and intend on having some matches before they play in the Champions League on August 8.

Last year the Blues were outstanding in Europe, almost reaching the group stages of the Europa League.

This summer, only three Irish League sides will contest continental competition, with one berth having been lost due to poor results in recent years.

That fourth spot will return next term and, while his focus is on Linfield, Healy - who will learn his side's Champions League preliminary round opponents this week - wants to see rival teams do well in Europe.

"We want teams from the Irish League to compete in Europe and win matches and progress in the competitions and keep bringing money into the Irish League and keep improving the co-efficient so we don't go back to where we had only three teams qualifying for Europe," says Healy.

He added that, following an embarrassing three months when clubs had major fall-outs deciding on how to end the season, relationships need to be re-established.

"For the League as a whole, it is important we sit down with other clubs or with NIFL and try to build some sort of relationships. The last few months have been tough but we have to make sure that, even if there is not agreement on all things, there is mutual respect and appreciation," he concludes.

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