Rafa Benitez has insisted that he must ‘keep working’ on Jacob Murphy after his struggling FA Cup display against Blackburn – saying that his low confidence levels will only improve if he starts performing on the pitch.
Murphy arrived with high hopes after superb showings in the European Championships for the England under 21 side but has disappointed at Newcastle following his £12 million transfer from Norwich City.
Here’s what Rafa had to say when asked about Murphy’s future after he failed to take his big chance against Blackburn:
“We have to keep working with him.
“You can see the prices in the market, so I think we are still short in terms of how much we have spent, so we have to keep going and working with him.”
This won’t help Murphy’s fragile confidence, essentially saying he only plays as we can’t afford to buy anyone to replace him. It may be true of course but this approach won’t help his confidence.
Rafa then talked about how both Murphy and Kenedy were low on confidence, suggesting this was the main reason for their recent struggles:
“When you have players in this kind of games, where they have not been playing, then at least they have try, and I think they tried,”
“Confidence is something you have to keep going and searching for. That’s the only way. I can give them confidence, training every day and talking with them. At the end of the day it depends how games go.
“Murphy still has the potential and I hope (that he will come good). You have to play well to play more games, that is the circle.”
The above though is a good rallying cry from Benitez to Murphy – play well and you will play more. I do think however his time at Newcastle may already have came and gone. Kenedy is out of form and Atsu has not scored or assisted a goal in 27 appearances, yet Murphy can’t get on the pitch in the Premier League.
£12m is a lot for Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United but in today’s market is still represents a fee that is only enough to gamble on a prospect and that’s what Murphy was. He has little time left it seems to prove us wrong but this one not working out would be a shame, as Murphy has always tried his best and is a Newcastle fan after all. Personally I would like to see him given a run of games ahead of Atsu but I fear it might be too late for that and a loan move may beckon this January.
What do you think of his Newcastle career to date?