Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy has endured a difficult time on Tyneside this season, but current statistics suggests he is being underutilised by Rafa Benitez.

2018/2019 was meant to be the campaign where the winger finally stepped up his form, but instead he’s been wasted away on the bench.

His minimal impact during Newcastle’s dismal start to the season cost him a place in the side, and he’s seen little game time since October.

But in his few chances to shine since, it would be unfair to say that Murphy hasn’t taken any of them.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

The winger was handed a rare start against Everton in December and created Newcastle’s only goal of the game.

However the youngster was not given the opportunity to kick on from that performance.

For the very next game against Wolves the 23-year old didn’t even make the squad. In fact, in Newcastle’s eight PL matches since, Murphy has made just two substitute appearances

But certain statistics suggest that Rafa Benitez might be hiding away a potential threat.

Murphy’s Expected Assists

Expected assists are an unusual statistic, however they do show Murphy’s undiscovered creative threat.

According to Opta, the Premier League’s trusted data collector, expected assists ‘measure the likelihood that a given pass will become a goal assist. It considers several factors including the type of pass, pass end-point and length of pass.’

‘Adding up a player or team’s expected assists gives an indication of how many assists a player should have had based on their build up and attacking play.’

This stat arguably better calculates creativity than pure assists, as it takes into account all potentially dangerous passes.

When viewing Newcastle’s expected assists (xA), Murphy has the joint-best rate in the squad with 0.19 xA per 90 minutes.

His rate is equal to Jonjo Shelvey and better than Matt Ritchie’s (0.17), arguably Newcastle’s most creative outlets.

This essentially means Murphy is more likely to gain an assist from one of his passes than Ritchie is.

This may not seem like enough to suddenly throw Murphy into the team, but he also shows potential in more standard stats.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

Murphy’s Crossing

Crossing is vital to Newcastle’s current style of play, and strong winger’s are paramount to the success of the team.

According to a report in The Chronicle, Murphy offers one of the best crossing rates in the squad.

The report claims that the winger hits over five crosses per 90 minutes with only Ritchie producing the same rate.

However Ritchie boasts a slightly higher crossing accuracy of 32% to Murphy’s 26%. 

But the stat once again proves in terms of attacking output, Murphy offers more than most of the squad.

His one assist has come with very few minutes played, and he deserves more opportunities.

The winger may start in the FA Cup against Watford this weekend and he needs to perform.

Another good performance and Benitez will have no choice but to include Murphy in his plans once again.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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