Crewe manager admits he 'must replace' Luke Murphy and Ashley Westwood

Crewe manager Steve Davis admits it's hard without Luke Murphy and Ashley Westwood.

Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis has told the Crewe Advertiser that his side are struggling without midfielders Luke Murphy and Ashley Westwood.

Crewe once again managed to stay in League One on the final day of the season, surviving by just two points as manager Davis guided them to safety.

It's always tough for Crewe to compete given their limited budget, so Davis - like many of his predecessors has to rely on using products of the club's famed youth academy.

Over the years, Crewe have helped produce the likes of David Platt, Robbie Savage, Danny Murphy, Neil Lennon, Dean Ashton, David Vaughan, Billy Jones and Nick Powell.

Two other products of that youth academy are midfielders Murphy and Westwood, who have managed to carve out careers higher up in the pyramid than Crewe.

Westwood signed for Premier League side Aston Villa in 2012 and has been a regular in his three years at Villa Park so far, whilst Murphy moved on to Leeds United just a year later, playing a key role in the side this past season.

Crewe are obviously proud to have nurtured young talent, but it's hard to lose them - and manager Davis admitted that Crewe miss Murphy and Westwood despite them having left some time ago now.

"We need to be playing more football, controlling the game more and producing some more energy," said Davis. "It’s been hard to replace the likes of Westy and Murph but that is what we need to do. If you have the quality and ability to pass, it doesn't matter what system you play because they can adapt."

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