This gifted player has turned his Newcastle United career around in the space of 12 months
A year ago, Jacob Murphy didn’t know if he had a future at Newcastle United.
Murphy, signed four years ago from Norwich City, had spent the previous 18 months out on loan, and he needed to win over Steve Bruce – and quickly.
Another loan had been mooted, but Murphy had other ideas. The winger applied himself in pre-season, and Bruce’s mind was made up by the time Murphy put in a dazzling performance in a 7-0 Carabao Cup win over Morecambe.
"I won't be letting him out on loan,” said United’s head coach. "Not after a performance like that. He deserves to stay with us.”
Murphy is now set for an even longer stay at the club. The 26-year-old is set to agree a new long-term deal at Newcastle, the club he supported as a boy.
But his career at the club has had as many downs than ups.
Murphy, a pacy and direct player, rarely got into his stride in his first 18 months at the club following his £12million move from Norwich City. His best football came during a confidence-building run in the team, but, more often than not, he found himself out of the team.
Shy off the field, Murphy didn’t always perform when given a chance under the glare of 52,000 fans at St James’s Park.
Loans at Championship clubs West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday followed, and the player who reported back for pre-season training last year was seemingly better equipped for the rigours of Premier League football.
Yet Murphy still had to be patient last season. And it wasn’t until the last two months of a difficult campaign that he would come into his own.
The recall of Matt Ritchie to a five-man defence following the club’s March defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion took the headlines, but the contribution of Murphy from right wing-back was just as important.
He made a significant contribution at both ends of the pitch – and kept Javier Manquillo out of the team.
Murphy wore United shirts growing up with his twin brother Josh. Thankfully, he now looks very comfortable on the pitch in a black and white jersey.