Mick McCarthy says he’s confident Josh Murphy can finally establish himself as a star at Cardiff City – so long as he’s willing to put in the hard yards.
After an encouraging cameo from the bench, Murphy was handed his first start under the new boss in the 3-1 win over Coventry City on Saturday and subsequently turned in a man-of-the-match performance, grabbing a goal and two assists.
Having arguably failed to live up to his clear potential under previous managers Neil Warnock and Neil Harris, Murphy is seemingly doing his best to put his hand up under the new manager.
And McCarthy believes both he and Terry Connor are capable of making sure the winger finally hits the heights his talents have promised.
“Between myself and TC I think we’ve got a happy knack of getting the best out of players,” McCarthy said after the game.
“Giving them a bit of belief and confidence. Even when he wasn’t playing, I spoke to him and explained the reasons why. Every time he’s come on the pitch he’s had an impact and today when he’s started he’s had a real impact.
“He’s got real quality. And some of the things he does…
“The pass he hit the other night at Rotherham, I have to be honest, I thought ‘What the hell has he done there. Whoa, great goal’. It was one of those moments. I’m delighted for him.
“I’m always pleased when you can get the best out of players. That really helps me and inspires me to keep going.”
Given the wealth of attacking talent available to McCarthy, which is likely to be bolstered further by Jonny Williams, who could well be in contention for the trip to Luton Town, Murphy is arguably staking his claim for a place at the right time.
Asked if his recent improvement was down to confidence, McCarthy added: “Everyone’s a confidence player. Some get better with it, some come grind it out if they’re not.
“He’s a player that creates things. Sometimes, creative players like Josh don’t see the benefit of the hard graft, tracking back.
“I asked him to do it. Josh Murphy in the final third, just be Josh Murphy. Go take people on, show us your magic.
“Show us those dancing feet. I’m all for that.
“In the middle third, get back and get into shape and be disciplined, and then you can have your enjoyment in that final third.
“I don’t know what went on before me, but he’s doing that for me. You can see that. He tracked back, won his tackle and created Kieffer’s goal.
“Whenever he does that for me he stands a chance of getting in my team.”