Opportunity knocks for Norwich City’s Murphy twins after Matt Jarvis injury blow
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Such is the brutal nature of professional football Matt Jarvis’ misfortune with a fresh knee injury removes another obstacle to the first team for Norwich City’s Murphy twins.
Nathan Redmond’s early-summer departure, in a club-record sale to Premier League Southampton, created a vacancy down the flanks and now news Jarvis will miss a considerable portion of the opening weeks following knee ligament surgery pushes the FA Youth Cup winning duo up the pecking order.
Alex Neil intimated as much after both caught the eye in a 3-0 friendly win at Peterborough. With new Liverpool recruit Sergi Canos kept in reserve following his midweek unveiling the stage was set for Josh to open the scoring with a cool lob over Norwich-bred Peterborough keeper Mark Tyler to settle the first part of this 120-minute exercise.
Jacob’s burst and shot dropped at the feet of Cameron Jerome to add a second before the youngster rose unchallenged to meet a late corner from James Maddison.
“I think this is a great chance now for both of them,” said Neil. “Their path to the first team, if you like, has always been blocked by the likes of say Nathan and then Matt but now they must see this is an opportunity. Now it is up to them to take it. It is not just going to be handed to them on a plate, they have to show they deserve to play.
“Matt underwent an operation so he is going to be out for a length of time. It didn’t fully recover from last season, if we are being honest. He had three injections over the summer to settle it down and the response wasn’t great so they just had to fix it. Either it was surgery or we hoped it would heal itself because surgery is always the last option. He was out two or three months last time and it is not going to be too dissimilar.
“Sergi obviously offers us a wide option but it also gives the Murphys a great chance now. Although we have played some others in wide areas in the past, if they are doing the business then the opportunity is there for them.”
Neil’s decision to switch Josh Murphy into a more central area paid dividends in a competitive first hour against the League One hosts.
“That is where he got his goal and it was after I had changed the shape a touch because I didn’t think at that stage the team had grasped what I wanted - as much as the second team did - in terms of how we wanted to play,” said the City chief. “By that I mean just in terms of squeezing high and stopping them playing. I don’t think we stopped them as well as the second group and you could see that perhaps in the second goal we scored, when we really got after them in their half. I felt we dominated that second game. The first one was a bit more to and fro. I would have liked to see us stop them more.
“It is not a criticism, more an observation at this early stage. It is my responsibility to make sure they do that as well as they can.”
Neil took plenty from the exercise with the likes of Jonny Howson, Russell Martin, Vadis Odjidja, Ivo Pinto and Canos all absent, along wit the club’s Euro 2016 contingent.
“It is pleasing to come through with no new injuries and to get effectively 60 minutes each for two teams,” he said. “That was one of the most important things. I am sure there are aspects we can still brush up on before the start of the season. I think a lot of the boys, Alex Tettey in particular, this was their first real game and alongside Louis Thompson I thought the two of them were fantastic in the second game.
“Jon has tonsillitis. We are hoping he is going to recover as quickly as possible and we can get him involved in the games over in Austria. As for Sergi, we did his testing and we didn’t feel he was fully ready to join in any game this weekend. We didn’t want to risk injury so we will get him up to speed and then he’ll be involved in the games coming up.”