There have been questions asked as to why Jacob Murphy was Newcastle United’s biggest buy of the summer.
The winger arriving from Norwich for between £10m and £12m depending on which reports you read, probably the lower figure but rising towards the higher one if he hits certain targets.
The big question of course was why Newcastle hadn’t bought anybody for more than that £10m/£12m figure as every other club was breaking their transfer record.
However, it was also being asked by fans and journalists, if Rafa Benitez only had a limited budget, why didn’t he use the Murphy money towards buying a ‘proper’ striker – the thinking being if you added the Joselu and Murphy money, it comes to £15m/£17m to spend.
It is an argument but obviously Rafa felt he saw something in the lifelong Newcastle fan and for the club to stand a chance of getting much better quality on a budget, it stands to reason you have to gamble on either young inexperienced players or older ones without a resale value.
A bit early to say Jacob Murphy is going to really make it but certainly he is heading in the right direction.
The first glimpses of the winger for Newcastle fans, showed somebody who looked intimidated and overawed from the step up to playing in front of fifty thousand in the Premier League.
Bottom line was that this was a player who had only played 40 Championship matches, as well as League One, but now after nine Premier League starts he is definitely on an upward curve.
A bit like the rest of Newcastle United’s attacking players, away games seem to suit Jacob Murphy, as there is more space to exploit on the break.
At Stoke you saw both Atsu and Murphy far more effective and their pace was ideal/essential to winning the game.
The former Norwich player had already shown his growing confidence when playing away at Chelsea and Man Utd and no doubt that has helped him to develop into an improving player.
Newcastle should have been two or three goals up by the time Jacob Murphy left his marker for dead as he went wide and around him before delivering the perfect low ball for Ayoze Perez.
Job done and nine minutes later Murphy left the pitch to a great ovation from the travelling 3,200 fans. The player says ‘It was the perfect way to start the year’.
I can’t disagree with that.
Jacob Murphy speaking to the official club site:
“It was the perfect way to start the year.
“I’m over the moon to start 2018 with my first Premier League assist for Newcastle – I couldn’t think of a better way to do it.
“This is just the start. I can’t get too ahead of myself after just setting up one goal, but I’ll keep working hard and pushing forward to create more chances for the boys.
“I’m a lot more relaxed going into games now, I’m feeling less pressure, and I can go out there and play my own game.
“I’m a confidence player, you need that confidence to go into games and do what you want to do.”
“I was buzzing with that and I’ve been smiling ever since I got into the dressing room, and the lads are buzzing for me as well, I’m delighted.
“I think that with the chances we had, we should have been further in front, but it wasn’t to be. We had to show a lot of character to stay in the game and we did.
“We have worked hard and there has been a lot of games in a short period of time, a lot of chopping and changing, but all the boys have been ready.
“They have been preparing well and on reflection, we have got some good results.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Stoke 0 Newcastle 1
Goals – Perez 73
Possession was Stoke 59% Newcastle 41%
Total shots were Stoke 7 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Stoke 3 Newcastle 6
Corners were Stoke 10 Newcastle 5
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Atsu (Gayle 64), Murphy (Dummett 82), Perez (Hayden 90)
Woodman, Joselu, Merino, Haidara
Crowd: 28,471 (3,200 Newcastle)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory. Read HERE)
(This is quality, Mark Hughes gives Newcastle no credit for the win. Read it HERE)
(Rafa ecstatic after performance and victory – Read it HERE)
(Great win, it should have been more! – Read it HERE)
(Give us your NUFC player ratings v Stoke HERE)