The Chalkboard: Jacob Murphy and Joselu aren’t Newcastle standard, and could be why Mike Ashley refuses to spend

Newcastle pair Jacob Murphy and Joselu proved that they simply aren’t good enough to play for the Magpies as they put in woeful performances against Blackburn, in which Rafa Benitez’s side limped to a replay against the Championship side.

What’s the word, then?

When the Chronicle gives a player who started the game a rating of 5, it goes without saying that they didn’t have the best of games – both Joselu and Murphy were given such a grade.

The Tyneside-based club appeared to be heading out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle yet again as the clocked ticked down, as Bradley Dack’s header looked like sending Rovers through to the fourth round. However, their blushes were saved thanks to Matt Ritchie’s 84th-minute penalty.

Whilst you can’t blame just two players for such a woeful performance, Joselu and Murphy were tasked with taking the game to the opposition and looking to make things happen, something which they failed to do in noticeable circumstances.

How bad were they?

The pair have just eight Premier League starts between them this season, so the cup tie was a huge chance for them to say to Benitez that they should be involved in his starting XI more often. There are a lot of players who aren’t of the quality required at St James Park, but the duo are in question as they cost a combined total of £17m – Murphy was purchased for £12m and Joselu £5m.

A lot is made of Mike Ashley’s reluctance to back his man in charge, but in fairness to him, why would he continue to spend if the aforementioned pair are all that Benitez can muster up.

Joselu and Murphy have both spent a year and a half at the club, and haven’t even mustered up 10 Premier League goals between them. Whilst it is fair enough not to use them in the league, such is their ineffectiveness, you would expect them to at least trouble Championship opposition – the fact that they failed to do so shows that they aren’t interested in breaking into the starting XI, and that Newcastle should look to shift them on whilst they still can.

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