It's up to hugely talented Wolves youngster to put himself on the same Sheffield Wednesday journey as much-missed Newcastle United man
A few weeks into his one-off season with Sheffield Wednesday, few could have foreseen the future of Jacob Murphy.
The pacey winger, who arrived at Hillsborough from his boyhood club Newcastle United low on confidence and short on direction, was shy and retiring on arrival and in his early weeks showed little in the way of Premier League potential.
After an initial burst of starts under caretaker boss Lee Bullen in the 2019/20 campaign, Murphy found himself the butt of terrace jokes as poor form saw him fall from Garry Monk’s plans.
For all his pace and trickery, his final ball was lacking and he lacked in decision-making skills. But an impressive Christmas resurgence saw him perform as the club’s best player in an admittedly failing side during the second half of the season.
Fast-forward two seasons and though the circumstances differ, there are early parallels to be grabbed at when it comes to Wednesday’s newest Premier League loanee winger Theo Corbeanu.
A Canadian international of huge potential, the 19-year-old doesn’t seem to share the confidence issues that so clearly hampered Murphy in his opening months in South Yorkshire.
But what he does share are dribbling attributes, pace and a burning ambition to make his way as a Premier League player. In terms of his ‘final ball’ output, early question marks remain.
Despite glimpses of what could be, the youngster is yet to set the third tier alight but could be afforded more time on the field after a standout display earned an assist in Tuesday evening’s win over Mansfield Town.
Questions fielded by Corbeanu after the match could well have been mirrored from those pushed at Murphy – now the owner of a new Newcastle contract and seven-out-of-seven Premier League appearances this season – some two years ago.
“It has been a little bit disappointing but it is something I need to get on with,” Corbeanu said on a lack of immediate game time.
“I know I have a lot of things to improve. I know that and the coaches tell me all the time.
“My overall game needs to improve and that is why I am here.
“I want to help the team and I feel my role is to make the difference. Whenever I am on the pitch or get my opportunity, I want to take it.
“I thought [Mansfield] was a decent game but I have got a lot of things to work on.”
Highly thought of at Wolves, Corbeanu has made a solitary first team appearance there, coming off the bench in a 2-0 defeat to Spurs late last season.
Manager at the time Nuno spoke of the need for him to progress his game before he could be considered a viable option and though he has age on his side – Murphy was 24 when he joined Wednesday – he is in the same boat as in that he has two years left to impress on his current parent club contract.
As Owls boss Darren Moore looks to settle his side down in terms of selection in the coming weeks, it is up to the undoubtedly talented Corbeanu to grab a place for himself and force a similar trajectory to that of his predecessor.