After spending last season on loan at Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, Jacob Murphy arrived back at Newcastle in the summer with a bit of a point to prove.
The winger has yet to really showcase why the Magpies spent around £12m to bring him in from Norwich in the summer of 2017, and a year away at Hillsborough was arguably the best thing that could have happened.
The former England U21 international enjoyed an impressive campaign with the Owls, netting nine goals and providing a further six assists in 44 games across all competitions.
And despite barely featuring in the Premier League for Steve Bruce this season – he has only played 16 minutes in the competition – he has looked full of confidence in Newcastle’s Carabao Cup encounters, including getting on the score-sheet in a 7-0 thrashing of Morecambe.
But whilst Murphy is certainly deserving of finally getting his chance in the top-flight, the summer arrival of Ryan Fraser on a free transfer has further caused a conundrum for him.
Fraser – who left Bournemouth after his contract expired – is currently being eased in by Bruce, completing the full 90 minutes just once for his new side.
And with the Magpies also bringing in Fraser’s former teammate at the Vitality, Callum Wilson, the Scotland international will no doubt be expecting to be named in the starting line-up sooner rather than later.
It makes Murphy’s job to nail down a spot in the first-team that much harder, but if he keeps producing performances like the one against Morecambe, then the £25k-a-week earning ace will stand a much better chance of keeping out Fraser.
Speaking after that Carabao Cup game, Steve Bruce raved: “I won’t be letting him out on loan! Not after a performance like that. He deserves to stay with us and he has improved enormously. I have been very, very pleased even though he didn’t make the squad for the weekend.”
With Fraser now in the mix, Murphy will have to be on his game even more to convince Bruce that he’s the man for the job.