DAVID McGurk is confident his former York City team-mate Ben Purkiss – the “cleverest man he’s ever played with” – will be a perfect appointment as the PFA’s new chairman.

Right-back Purkiss, now 33, shared a dressing room with McGurk at Bootham Crescent for three years from 2007 when the former was signed from Gainsborough Trinity by Billy McEwan.

He departed after scoring the Minstermen’s consolation in the 3-1 Conference play-off final defeat to Oxford, joining the triumphant Wembley winners that summer and since turning out for Darlington, Hereford, Walsall, Port Vale and Swindon, who he joined in the summer.

Whilst at City, Purkiss completed his French and Law degree, with McGurk believing the ex-Sheffield United youth-team scholar is the right man to represent the union as former Hartlepool and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Ritchie Humphreys’ replacement.

Commenting on Purkiss’ suitability to the prominent role, McGurk said: “Ben wasn’t your typical footballer.

“He was well-spoken, intelligent and studying Law when he played for us, which isn’t really the norm. I’ve rang him a few times for some legal advice on certain issues and it’s not often you can call a former team-mate for help like that.

“He wasn’t one for big nights out or anything like that either. He kept himself to himself, but still related to the lads and got on with everybody and I’ve got a lot of time for Ben.

“He has good values in life and is perfect for the role. Even though he’s a serious lad and takes his football very seriously, he has a dry sense of humour that he would use in the dressing room.

“He was the cleverest lad I ever played with, but also quite street-wise, not just academically smart. He knows the ins and outs of life and has always been preparing himself for life after football in the background.

“I’m sure he could have gone into something with a bigger salary before now. But he was a very good footballer too and wanted to take that opportunity to play as a professional.

“The PFA chairman role is still just a voluntary one, but it’s about being the head of a very high-profile union, where you have to speak on behalf of the organisation and he’s a very eloquent lad, who will be good at that.”

Having departed North Yorkshire before City regained their Football League status for four years in 2012, Purkiss never served as the club’s PFA representative – that role was filled by Michael Ingham.

But Clarke Carlisle was also the national body’s chairman during a brief spell at Bootham Crescent in that first campaign back in the League.

McGurk was still on the club’s books then too and believes there are similarities and differences between the way Purkiss will approach his duties and the manner in which his other former team-mate Carlisle tackled the job.

“They are similar in that they are both very well-spoken and can perform well in front of the cameras or the big audiences at different events they have to attend,” McGurk pointed out.

“Clarke was a bit of a larger-than-life character in the dressing room, whereas Ben was quieter, but he was always strong with his opinions and is perhaps more level-headed.”

McGurk, meanwhile, cannot speak highly enough of the PFA.

In return for the £100 annual subscription, the union’s members receive a wide-ranging level of professional and personal support and, outlining the help he has received, McGurk enthused: “The PFA is amazing, especially for players in the lower leagues.

“They put me through my sports science degree whilst I was playing and also contributed to my UEFA B and A licences, as well as putting courses on for members. Recently, I had a course of treatment on my back that was quite expensive and the PFA covered that, so they really look after you.

“I also know of somebody who was struggling to pay his mortgage after being released and they assisted him. There’s always somebody willing to help on the end of a phone to listen to whatever problems you might have in life – whether they be legal or social.

“It’s the kind or organisation where you get to know individuals and Richard Jobson has been great for me. It’s an excellent union that will benefit from having Ben as chairman.”

McGurk, himself, might have landed a new job recently, having been earmarked as the man to replace current City chief Martin Gray at the pair’s former club Darlington.

The two-time Press Player of the Year’s work as assistant manager to another Bootham Crescent old boy Darren Kelly at Hyde United has not gone unnoticed by the Quakers.

Hyde are currently challenging for promotion from the Evo-Stik League’s division one north and reached the FA Cup first round this season with their 4-0 defeat to League One MK Dons being chosen for live television BBC coverage.

On the interest in his services, McGurk added: “I was offered the job at Darlington after going for an interview, but it just wasn’t the right time. It would have been my first manager’s job and, whilst it would have been the right club, it felt like the wrong time.

“I’ve always felt that I don’t want to go into my first job during a season. I know that’s not always possible and it’s hard to pick and choose, but I want to pick and choose when it’s something as important as my first managerial position, because you might only get one opportunity and I’d like that to be in the summer when you can have a few months to work with your players first.”