Transfers can make things tough, says Saints fly-half Myler

Stephen Myler (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Stephen Myler (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Last week saw football’s transfer deadline day come and go.

It is a frantic 24-hour period where an abundance of professional players have uncertainty cast over their future.

One minute they could be sitting at home, playing on the PlayStation, the next they could be heading up the motorway to make the move to a new club.

It is all so instantaneous. No hanging around.

But rugby union’s transfer market moves in a very different way.

Rather than the rapid moves made in football, rugby switches are often drawn-out affairs.

Even if a player agrees to join another club, usually they have to wait until the end of the season to do so.

And that means more of a window for negotiations, with Premiership clubs able to start speaking to players from other teams in the division from January.

Players are regularly in limbo.

Sometimes they have a contract extension from their current club to consider, as well as offers from other outfits.

And it all makes for plenty of speculation and, occasionally, worry, with players keen to ensure the longevity of their career as well as earning the money they need to survive.

All of this happens while games come and go, meaning the men you see running out at weekends often have plenty on their plate at this time of year.

And as Stephen Myler explains, it can be a tough situation to be in.

“It can be a difficult time for players, particularly the lads who don’t know if they’re staying,” said Myler, who does not have to worry this year as he is contracted to Saints until the summer of 2018.

“They might want to stay where they are, they might want to leave or they might have secured a deal to leave.

“It’s possibly harder for the lads that aren’t sure what’s going on yet.

“You don’t know if you’ve got a job next year, you don’t know where your job is going to be, so it can be quite difficult, but this is what you’ve got to get to grips with.

“You can’t let it affect what you do on the field but it can be a difficult time.

“It’s part and parcel of the sport and we kind of know that.”

Myler might have the security of another year on his Saints contract, but he is no stranger to a tricky situation.

And the 32-year-old looks back to 2006, when he made the huge decision to switch rugby league for rugby union, swapping Salford City Reds for Northampton Saints.

“I went through it when I changed codes - it was a massive decision to make,” said Myler, who has gone on to make a massive 303 Saints appearances.

“I wondered whether I was doing the right thing and wondering whether I should just stick with what I knew, but sometimes you have to go with your gut.

“Some people might feel they need a fresh challenge. We’ve got players who are leaving and looking forward to a fresh challenge, and from a personal point of view for them, you’ve got to respect that and wish them all the best.

“We’re human beings at the end of the day and we want what’s best for them.”

One man who has been through the rumour mill this year is JJ Hanrahan, whose move back to Munster, who he left for Saints in 2015, was confirmed last month.

Hanrahan had been Myler’s main rival for the No.10 shirt, but it was a friendly battle and the Englishman wishes the Irishman well.

“JJ’s had a difficult time this year with his injuries and he’s just picked up another one so it’s been a difficult year for him,” Myler said.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed working with him and he has a similar kind of thought process to what I have.

“It’s nice to sort of bounce ideas off someone like that and I’d like to think he might go back to Munster and take something from the relationship we’ve had.”