herald

Thursday 30 March 2017

Daryl plays a new toon

Murphy determined to make up for lost time with Newcastle

Newcastle player Daryl Murphy in action during last weekend's FA Cup third round draw with Birmingham City at St Andrew's
Newcastle player Daryl Murphy in action during last weekend's FA Cup third round draw with Birmingham City at St Andrew's

It's understandable if Newcastle United fans wondered if they had been sold a pup.

After just one brief appearance for the club their new signing, Ireland international Daryl Murphy, picked up an injury, didn't kick a ball for over two months and then they had to wait another six weeks for the striker to deliver his first goal.

That goal, scored by Waterford man Murphy in last week's FA Cup draw with Birmingham City, was welcomed by the club's fans, even more so by the player himself.

Desperate to prove himself at Newcastle in what - at the age of 33 - is his last chance to grab another taste of the big time in a long career Murphy had endured a torrid few months but, with the twin goals of Premier League promotion and World Cup qualification in his sights, Murphy is relieved to be back scoring goals.

"I enjoyed that goal last week, to be out for so long was annoying for me but annoying for the supporters as well," Murphy told The Herald, reflecting on a busy few months which saw him play at the European Championship finals, move to Newcastle from Ipswich, score his first goal for Ireland and then pick up that injury.

"The fans have been brilliant since I came here. Even going to training, there are fans waiting outside the training ground. But it was frustrating for them that I wasn't playing and a frustration for me.

"I had signed but I was watching the lads from the stand every week as I was injured, it's not nice. You'd meet the fans and they'd ask when I was back, thankfully now they know I am fit and ready to go, I never got any stick from them over being injured.

Chance

"I am sure it was going through the fans' minds, that this guy signed, got injured and is now only picking up a wage without kicking a ball for us. I don't want the fans thinking that way about me, if I was that way inclined I'd never have gone to Celtic in the first place.

"I'd have stayed at Sunderland and sat on the bench to pick up my wages, that's not how I am, I need to play, to be involved and I will train as hard as I can now I am fit again."

Murphy, who played in the Premier League with Sunderland in his debut season in England following a 2005 move from Waterford United, says it was the lure of top flight football again - and not cash - which promoted the move earlier this season.

"The chance to go to Newcastle was something I couldn't turn down. At my age, when a club like Newcastle come in for me there's only one answer, I was always going to want to go there.

"The other side of that is, I knew it would be a big challenge, getting into the Newcastle side and helping to get them promoted," admits Murphy, who has yet to start a league game for Rafa Benitez's side.

"It wasn't even that I needed the move financially, I have had a decent enough career and I was settled at Ipswich, it was more the case that

"I wanted to challenge for something before I was finished, and with a club the size of Newcastle I had the chance to do that. It was even the chance to get a new experience at Newcastle, I had been at Ipswich for a while and loved it there but this was something new for me, at my age, to go and challenge for something and have another chance in the Premier League."

Injury keeping him out of the last three qualifiers, Murphy is keen to get back into the green shirt for the key date with Wales in March.

"Right now I am just focused on getting back involved with the club, I know I won't play for Ireland if I am not involved with the club, so I have to try and force my way in here and get more games for Newcastle before I will start for my country," says Murphy, who watched the recent win over Austria on TV back home in Ireland.

"We've had a great start in the group and long may it continue. March is huge, we are home, we'll have a big crowd behind us and I see no reason why we can't beat them, we have always matched teams at home and the away record recently is very good."

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