The 'hugely-talented' Newcastle United player Eddie Howe, Steve Bruce and Rafa Benitez all agree on
It won’t surprise fans to learn that Sven Botman and Joe Willock are two of them. But it may surprise some that Jacob Murphy has almost five years left on his contract.
The deal was signed before last year’s takeover, so does the winger, signed by the-manager Rafa Benitez from Norwich City in 2017 for £12million, have the long-term future at St James’s Park that his contract suggests?
Eddie Howe, certainly, speaks very highly of Murphy, who scored his first goal in more than a year in Saturday’s 5-1 home win over Brentford.
Murphy had been handed a second successive start by Howe after seven appearances off the bench. The 27-year-old, fielded on the left side of United’s attack, had a simple finish after Callum Wilson squared the ball to him.
“It’s been a while since I last scored, so it was a lot of relief to see it hit the back of the net,” said Murphy.
Murphy needed a goal for his confidence, and the standing ovation he got from fans when he left to pitch to be replaced by Joelinton in the 66th minute will have done him good too.
Asked about the goal, head coach Howe said: “It was very important. Everyone’s different, and needs different things. Jacob’s a hugely talented lad, and really appreciated by me, the players and the coaching team.
“Because of his attitude and versatility, he’s a player that will play anywhere for the team. He’ll never moan, or have any negative reaction to being moved, so I can’t praise him enough for that team ethic.
“But it’s great to see him individually do well, and come to the fore. He’s a brilliant trainer, very conscientious, and I’m really pleased for him.”
However, Murphy’s stay in the starting XI may not be a long one, as Howe has Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton, both substitutes against Brentford, pushing for starts against Manchester United on Sunday.
Murphy, with his pace, suited the counter-attacking game of Newcastle under Benitez. He won over Steve Bruce, Benitez’s successor, after returning from a spell on loan – and earned a new long-term deal.
Murphy has indeed come to the fore under Howe – but staying there will be a challenge.