Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez heaped praise on one of his players ahead of their Saturday afternoon win over in form Bournemouth. The Spaniard described young winger Jacob Murphy as 'one of the best in training' as he continues his learning curve in the Premier League.
Murphy played 25 times for the Magpies last season, but has found minutes harder to come by this campaign. The former Norwich player has played six times for Newcastle in the league, clocking in just 218 minutes all season. Murphy was left out of the matchday squad for last weekend's win against Watford, but he may be playing his way back into contention.
By contrast, his brother Josh has been one of Cardiff's brighter sparks this season, playing ten games for the Bluebirds and scoring twice in the process.
The Shields Gazette report that Murphy may be starting to win Benitez over, the Spaniard saying: “He’s in the squad – he’s training well. I had a conversation with him, but a normal one. I think he’s doing really well in the training sessions – he’s one of the best in the training sessions – and he has to improve his understanding of the game. But he’s quite keen to learn, and he’s working really hard to do that.”
Benitez claims that the lack of game time is dejecting the 23-year-old, who appears to be well aware of the process he has to go through to establish himself in the Premier League.
“I think he’s a young player, a nice lad, and he understands when he needs to talk with me. We talk. We spend a lot of time doing specific work – his running with the ball, his dribbling, something like that – but he’s still a young player.
“The problem with young players is when you’re not doing well, or the team isn’t doing well, it’s more difficult to play them, because everybody is expecting them to make the difference because of the quality that they have. But if they don’t have the experience, sometimes the pressure is too much for them.”
Murphy joined Newcastle from boyhood club Norwich in 2017, but has been on the fringes of the team ever since. If he continues improving in the way Benitez has already noticed he has, then he could establish himself in the first team in the near future.