This Newcastle man went from outcast to first-choice option

Newcastle United F.C.'s Jacob Murphy (Photo by ALEX PANTLING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United F.C.'s Jacob Murphy (Photo by ALEX PANTLING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

After struggling to establish himself with Newcastle United since his arrival, this 25-year-old is now a starter for the Magpies.

With Newcastle United lacking some punch, especially on the wings, Rafa Benitez signed Jacob Murphy from Norwich City in July 2017. After failing to make an impact, he had loan spells with West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. He entered this season as an afterthought, but now, he’s a starter in Steve Bruce’s vision of the Magpies.

Murphy, typically a winger, started last week vs. Wolves at right wing-back. He handled himself well defensively and scored directly from a free kick to secure a draw for Newcastle. Bruce credited his work ethic in preseason and in training for his decision.

Today, he made another start on the backline and helped the Magpies pick up all three points vs. Everton.

While Javier Manquillo was available on the bench, Bruce seems to prefer Murphy at this point. A main reason for that could be his ability in the attack. He’s able to build into the attack up the right flank, deliver crosses, or cut inside and work the ball around with the offensive players.

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In fairness, Murphy hasn’t been tested by an elite left wing yet. He’s not a natural defender and that could force Bruce to adjust his plan. But, if he can continue to grow in ability and confidence defensively, he could be the first-choice option for the foreseeable future at right-back.

With his contract coming to an end after this season, Jacob Murphy’s emergence on the backline could see him extended by Newcastle United.