Newcastle United striker Daryl Murphy says he has no hard feelings toward Rafa Benitez – despite being told the club will look to sell him this summer.
Murphy was signed for a cut-price £3.5million last summer as Newcastle looked to get back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
His capture marked something of a policy shift by Newcastle’s transfer chiefs, who had previously not considered signing players over the age of 27.
It was clearly a short-term measure, and despite 34-year-old Murphy only starting a handful of games, he played an important role in helping the Magpies clinch promotion from the Championship.
Now, Benitez has told the Irishman, away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, that he will look to offload him during the summer – and Murphy says he is ‘fine’ with that.
Murphy said: “Rafa is a top, top manager. He texted me after the Uruguay game to say well done.
“I spoke to him last week about my future and he thanked me for what I had done and said they were going to listen to a few offers. I said ‘that’s fine’.
“I always knew I had been brought in there to do a specific job, to help the club get promoted. I had no illusions that I was going to be starting for Newcastle in the Premier League if we got up.
“I have got another year left on my contract and I will go back there for pre-season and just look at my options.”
Murphy made 17 appearances for Newcastle last season as he saw his chances limited by the competition for places alongside Dwight Gayle, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez, plus a series of injuries.
However, he netted six times, including the crucial winner against Brentford in the league.
And he says he has no regrets about leaving Ipswich Town – especially after picking up a title-winners medal.
“Last season was good, though,” he added. “Rafa managed everything very well. We had a lot of big name players and maybe if it had been another manager he wouldn’t have got the best out of them as there would have been players sulking.
“But he used every player in the squad at the right time so everybody was fighting for a place. When the other strikers got injured, I knew I had to produce the goods for him, and I did, getting three goals in three games.
“We got some good results. I didn’t start many games – just seven in the league, nine in all competitions.
“But I scored six times and felt I deserved my medal whereas before, when I was at Celtic, we won the Cup but I barely featured and didn’t take a medal then because I had not earned it.
“This time I played my part. And I have Rafa to thank for that. To work with him, you see at first-hand how good he is and realise why he has such a superb CV. His attention to detail, everything is spot-on. He wants to know everything that is going on at the club. He makes time for everyone.”
And Murphy feels the same way about Ireland boss O’Neill, who has reinigorated his international career after a spell in the wilderness.
Murphy said: “The manager gives me belief. It isn’t by anything he says, it is from the big games I have played in.
“He knows he can trust me, knows I am going to give everything whether I start or come off the bench. He does not have to pull me aside to tell me he needs me.
“I am in the squad. That’s where you draw confidence from.”