It turns out that Eddie Howe’s most used player since he took the helm at Newcastle United is the man with just six first-team starts to his name this season – Jacob Murphy. The perennial substitute.
A report in The Athletic has broken down the stats for Jacob Murphy and it turns out that the former Norwich City man has featured more times for Eddie Howe than any other player.
The 28-year-old has appeared in 49 of the 51 Premier League games Howe has taken charge of, pipping Joelinton to the title by two. He also finds himself among just six Newcastle players to have featured in every top-flight game this season, but only six of those have been as a starter.
Murphy is Howe’s super-sub
This makes him the most-used substitute not just at Newcastle, but in the entire Premier League by quite some margin. Since Howe took charge in November 2021, Murphy has come off the bench 34 times for the Newcastle, the next most-used sub is former Magpie, James Milner who has come off the bench 29 times for Liverpool.
So, how can Howe trust Murphy so much that he features in almost every game, but not enough to throw him in from the start?
It appears to be down to a confidence issue. Having been loaned out be two previous Newcastle managers there’s a feeling that Murphy’s self-belief has taken a hit. Newcastle staff have said that Murphy is one of the most consistent trainers at the club, but has, for a long time not managed to replicate that on the pitch when it counts.
However, it now feels like he might be starting to believe again. Earlier this season, Murphy had said: “I think there’s more to come from me,” Murphy said earlier this season. “Everyone in the dressing room knows what I’m capable of.”
Are we starting to get the player we’d thought we’d got in 2017?
He was fantastic against Wolves on Sunday and gave Newcastle that little bit of something that had been missing for the last few games. Reversing the usual Miguel Almiron starting and Murphy coming on for him when the opposition is tired tactic paid dividends too with Almiron coming on to score.
Eddie Howe is a big admirer of Murphy too with the £12million man buying into Howe’s philosphy. The gaffer said on Thursday: “He works and hones his skills meticulously. He’s a player who really wants to invest time and try to find ways to elevate his game to another level.”
It does feel like we are finally starting to see the player we thought we’d signed back in 2017.