Where are they now?: Arnold Muhren

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The Independent Online
THE QUESTION asked of every foreign footballer recruited to play here is 'will he adapt to the English game?' Rare is the player who can make the English game adapt to him. But Arnold Muhren was one.

Around a Dutch midfield axis of Muhren and Frans Thijssen, signed from Twente Enschede, Bobby Robson modelled an Ipswich team along European lines who were twice second in the championship, in 1981 and '82. 'Ipswich played like a Dutch team,' Muhren said, 'and proved it was possible to play that way and be successful.' The Suffolk side won the Uefa Cup in 1981.

After winning an FA Cup medal with Manchester United, Muhren returned to the Netherlands to join Ajax. The European Championship final of 1988 was his international swan-song but he continued in the Dutch First Division for two more years and was 39 before he retired.

Now, with financial support from Reebok, Muhren and his brother, Jerry, a contemporary of Cruyff and Neeskens at Ajax, travel the country coaching youngsters. 'We visit around 150 amateur clubs, teaching basic technique and passing skills. We are on the road a lot but I think it is the best thing an ex-footballer can do, to help develop the play of the future.'

Married with three teenage children, Muhren lives in his home town Volendam, near Amsterdam, 'in a house I have kept since my time in England'. His 18-year-old son plays as an amateur. 'I have never put him under pressure. When I grew up there was nothing to do except play football but there are so many things for young people now.'

(Photograph omitted)

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