Isaac Hayden believes Jacob Murphy will give Steve Bruce a selection ‘headache’ this season, revealing how the winger has been “flying” both in training and friendlies over pre-season.
The £10 million man spent the last two seasons out in the cold with loan spells at West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday.
His spell at the latter – in which he scored 9 goals and provided 6 assists – convinced the manager to give him another chance at the club this summer, and it seems he’s impressing both Bruce and a few of his NUFC teammates based on Hayden’s latest comments.
Speaking to NUFC TV prior to Tuesday’s 5-1 hammering at Middlesbrough, here’s what he had to say when asked who’s caught his eye in pre-season:
“We’ve shown a few good attacking plays and attacking movements and the combinations have been quite good,”
“I think the players have come back in good shape.
“Jacob, who went on loan last year at Sheffield Wednesday, has come back and he is flying almost in training and in games.
“That’s a credit to him going away and playing the games he did last season and coming back ready to take his chance, which I think he’s doing at the minute.
“If he can continue like that, it gives the manager a big headache for next season.”
Given how many had written him off not so long ago, there’ll be a few Mags pleasantly surprised to read so many praising his new-look displays this summer.
Murphy failed to get on the scoresheet yesterday, but created a series of big chances in the 3-0 win over Crewe and scored the winner against Barnsley after doing brilliantly to win a penalty.
Despite a plethora of Championship clubs wanting to sign Murphy on loan this season, it seems as though Bruce will grant him one final attempt to prove himself as a Premier League calibre player.
If he can keep up this pre-season form – something that’s also received praise from NUFC coach Steve Agnew – he could prove to be a crucial attacking addition to the squad this term, especially if current winger Matt Ritchie heads to Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old’s contract expires next summer, so this will be his last chance establish himself at the club and earn a new deal in the process.