Jacob Murphy has confessed he was left baffled by Rafael Benitez’s decision making during his time in charge at Newcastle.
The forward has been with the Magpies since 2017, making a total of 46 appearances for the club, but his time in the side under the Spaniard was bit-part at best and he featured just nine times in the top-flight in Benitez’s final season at the helm.
He made his first league start for the club the 1-1 draw with Wolves in the previous round of Premier League fixtures, scoring his side’s equaliser in the dying embers of the match. However, used fleetingly under previous boss Benitez – who signed him for £12m – Murphy has admitted that he struggled to cope with the Spaniard’s constant tinkering.
“It was tough. I had a run of games in October and November and I was voted Player of the Month when I had those games,” he told NUTV. “It was tough to come in and not get many games, then get my games and do all right and then not to feature.
“There was the game against Stoke where I played well and got an assist and then I didn’t start again for another month. The City game the next month, I started, played well there, scored a goal and then I didn’t feature again until the next season.
“To get setbacks like that was tough because I was thinking: ‘What have I done wrong?’ Those times were tough but looking back on it now it has moulded me into a stronger individual.”
18 months on loan with Championship sides West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday helped restore Murphy’s confidence, who now looks set for a more regular role at Newcastle under Steve Bruce.
He added: “I was thinking: ‘Is it ever going to happen for me?’ But the Sheffield Wednesday loan was so vital for my development. It gave me the confidence and I realised I could do this. I realised I wasn’t going to give up on this dream. This is my boyhood club that I have always wanted to play for. I have got this opportunity, go and take it.”
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