Jacob Murphy has returned to St James’ Park and Steve Bruce has confirmed that he will play a part in pre-season – starting with a place in the starting 11 for today’s first friendly of the summer against Crewe Alexandra.
Bruce said this to The Chronicle when asked about the winger this week:
“I am going to take my time with him and have a look. We have plenty of time with it to see what the next step is.
“He has had a successful loan and looks like he has developed a bit, so we will see what he can do“
The situation with Covid 19 could have a positive impact on Murphy’s Newcastle career, as the club are limited in what they can do in the market.
The squad needs more depth on the wing and he could be given another chance this season to prove himself in the Premier League.
Last season, he grew as the season went on and finished the campaign with nine goals and four assists. Sheffield Wednesday were dealing with off-field issues and it was an impressive showing from Murphy to contribute as much as he did. He averaged 1.7 shots, 1.1 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game, with a goal involvement every 176.7 minutes. That is better than a goal or assist every other game.
Louis Shackshaft (@LouisShackshaft), author of Very Wednesday, an in-depth book on the 2019/20 Sheffield Wednesday season believes Murphy was one of the clubs most consistent performers:
He was one of our most consistent performers and became a regular contributor in front of goal towards the back end of the season.
“In the nine games after the restart, he was our best player by quite some distance.
“Primarily he was on the right wing, however, he did play up front on a handful of occasions. He was effective in both positions, but I would consider him a natural winger as he has pace and can beat a man.
“He scored on his debut against Barnsley, but he was in a battle with Adam Reach and Kadeem Harris for a starting place. Once he found his feet after two or three months, he became one of the first names on the team-sheet.
“I consider Murphy to be a very good Championship player, but we all know that the Premier League takes no prisoners, you’ve got to be at your best every week.
“If he continues where he left off at the end of the season then I’m sure he’ll get game time.
“I know he’s only 25, but it’s probably now or never if he’s going to make it in the top flight.“
It is encouraging to hear that Murphy has improved, as he lacked confidence when he has played in the black and white. During his time with us, he has one goal and two assists in 1445 minutes. This needs to improve if he is to make an impact in the new season.
That said, if we were signing a player from the Championship that was averaging a goal or assist every other game, we’d be very excited. Given the lack of budget to sign another winger and the few options in the current squad, Murphy deserves a chance.
He is a boyhood Newcastle fan and he could be one to make real strides forward during the 2020/21 season 20 months on from his last league start.