Houston Dynamo boss Owen Coyle praises Shaun Maloney's MLS switch

The former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers manager believes the Scottish midfielder's decision to move to the Chicago Fire says a lot about the league's growth.

Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle has paid tribute to the Chicago Fire’s Shaun Maloney, telling ESPN FC that the Scotland international’s winter move to MLS shows just how far the league has come.

Maloney, 32, opted to leave Wigan Athletic for the Fire in the transfer window despite having the option to return to the Premier League with Leicester, as well as entertaining interest from former club Celtic - according to the Daily Mail.

Having joined the likes of Kaka, David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco in making the move across the Atlantic, Coyle believes the ex-Aston Villa midfielder’s capture is another huge coup for the league and expects him to make a big impression in Chicago moving forward.

“Here is a guy who has been the leading figure in Scotland's Euro 2016 qualifiers, scoring a couple of vital goals and proving himself to be a player at the peak of his powers,” the former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers manager said.

“He could well have stayed in English football and I'm sure there were clubs making him offers, but he chose the MLS and there were not too many people questioning that decision. It was another example of perceptions changing.”

Like Maloney, Coyle also made the switch to MLS this winter, taking over the Dynamo in December after long-time coach Dominic Kinnear’s departure for the San Jose Earthquakes following a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

His first job since leaving Wigan Athletic in December 2013, the Scottish-born boss has had a mixed start so far, beating the Columbus Crew 1-0 in their season opener but losing 1-0 to Orlando City SC the following week, though he is adamant that he is right man to turn the team’s fortunes around.

“I have tended to be associated with teams that were being asked to punch above their weight and I feel that is what we need to do here,” added Coyle. “It's a challenge I relish. The players here have embraced what we are telling them and I believe that we can have a good season, wherever that may take us.

“My experience working in England should be helpful to the players here. The principles of the game are the same all over the world, but I have always expected high standards from the players working under me and I hope the players on my roster have enjoyed the sessions we have put together for them ahead of the season.

“Now we are into the regular-season games and the test of what we have put in place will come, but I'm confident that we can be competitive.”

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