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29th Jul 2023

Irish underage star praised by Eddie Howe after “excellent” Newcastle performance

Rory Fleming

Eddie Howe

As Newcastle’s search for a new left-back drags on, could the answer be the young Irishman?

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has hailed 19-year-old Irish defender Alex Murphy as “excellent”, following his performance in the Magpies 1-1 pre-season draw with Chelsea.

Howe has reportedly been in the market for a new left-back this summer, with the likes of Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney and Chelsea’s Marc Cucerella both linked with a move to Tyneside.

However, competition for first-choice Dan Burn could be set to come from within, after the former Galway United man’s impressive pre-season form.

Signing for Newcastle last year after a breakthrough season in the Irish First division, Murphy has gone from strength to strength.

Showing just how much he has impressed the Magpies coaching staff this summer, he was selected to replace the injured Fabian Schar who departed the action after just half an hour.

Eddie HoweAlex Murphy in action for Ireland U19’s last March. (Credit: Sportsfile)

Eddie Howe lauds Murphy performance:

Playing primarily as a centre-half, Newcastle boss Howe instead opted to deploy Murphy at left-back, in a test of his versatility and composure which he passed with flying colours.

In what was a performance beyond his years against Mauricio Pochettino’s Blues, Murphy was hailed as “incredible” by club captain Kieran Trippier afterwards.

Similarly, Eddie Howe was sining the Irish U19 international’s praises, saying;

“I thought he was excellent, really really good.

“It’s a very tough environment to come into, especially slightly out of position. But he was very composed, and defended really well. I was really, really pleased with him.

“I’ve always liked Alex. I think he’s a very good technician. But it’s really when you find out about players when you’re in this environment- a full crowd, Premier League opposition. He can be very pleased with his night’s work.”

So, maybe there might be some Irish representation in next season’s Champions League after all…

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