Newcastle United take on Nottingham Forest at the City Ground tonight, with Eddie Howe boasting one major selection dilemma.
Howe started Jacob Murphy in the Premier League for the first time since November last week, picking him on the right of Newcastle‘s attack over Miguel Almiron against Wolves.
It was a decision that paid off in two ways. Firstly, the boyhood Toon fan justified his place in the side with a good performance. Howe described him as ‘excellent‘ after the game.
Secondly, Almiron was able to come on late in the game and score the winner. He now has 11 goals, as his best ever Newcastle season keeps on getting better.
It leaves Howe with a dilemma tonight. Does he reward Murphy for his strong performance with another start? Or does he recall Almiron in a bid to start another goalscoring run?
Eddie Howe should pick Jacob Murphy should start again for Newcastle
While Almiron would be most fans’ choice to start on the right of attack against Forest, Howe will surely be tempted to keep faith in Murphy.
He has been impressive off the bench in recent weeks, and deserved his chance last time out. There is no denying he took it, and it should give him huge confidence.
Murphy has had an interesting Toon career since his £12million move, but is massively valued by Howe right now. He clearly has talent, but is worryingly inconsistent.
That is why Howe might consider reverting back to Almiron, but Murphy deserves to keep his place. It will give him a chance to build on his momentum, and he will fancy his chances up against a questionable Nottingham Forest defence.
And that still gives Howe a great option off the bench for later in the game. Almiron has proven he can be a difference maker this season, and bounced back brilliantly last week after struggling as of late.
The Paraguayan is still a key player for the Magpies, and should start when Newcastle face Manchester United after the international break. But Forest is another game for Murphy to show what he can do, as Howe begins to rely more and more on his squad.