Murphy hails Mick role in resurgence
IPSWICH striker Daryl Murphy won't hear a bad word against his club manager Mick McCarthy, WRITES LIAM KELLY.
The Waterford-born striker has been a virtual ever-present for the Tractor Boys this season – and in his favourite role.
"When Mick came in, he said, 'I want you to play as a striker, you're not going to be playing in left midfield for me' and he said that when I did play well, I'd stay in the team," said Murphy.
"That's been the case, and I've played nearly every game this season. I think I've performed better as a striker than I did as a left midfielder."
The run of matches – he has started 29 times in 33 appearances – has brought nine goals so far, and led to his surprise recall to the Ireland squad – six years after he won the last of his nine caps.
"I think I played well any time I played. But in all my caps, I only started one game. That was away to Ecuador and we drew 1-1 and I did well, but then it was a case it was five or 10 minutes here or there, which is not enough time to really do anything," said Murphy.
"I think given more time, I could have done better. But given the time I had, I couldn't have done much more."
Giovanni Trapattoni dropped him without any notification, which hurt, but Martin O'Neill has opened a window of opportunity. "I was surprised and delighted when I heard. It's great to be back in," said Murphy.
He was sent over to Dublin with good wishes from McCarthy and one instruction – make sure he comes back fit and well for the fray as Ipswich resume their battle to reach the Championship play-offs.
O'Neill tends to like a good big 'un up front backed up by a good little 'un.
If he goes with that formula, Murphy could challenge Jon Walters for a slot, playing alongside Robbie Keane or the not-so-little Shane Long or Kevin Doyle.
That story will unfold over the next few months. For now, the first target of ex-Sunderland and Celtic striker Murphy is to get a decent amount of playing time to prove himself to O'Neill and his former Sunderland boss Roy Keane.