Rafa Benitez has opted to play both Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy against Everton on Wednesday and there will be no better time to compare the two Newcastle United wingers.
The Magpies’ official Twitter account confirmed the starting line-up with the clash with the Toffees and it was little bit of surprise to see both players, who have struggled to feature, on the teamsheet.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 5, 2018
With Matt Ritchie suspended for the clash with Marco Silva’s side, it was expected that one of them would play but with both being given a rare chance then they are effectively competing with each other.
Murphy, has played only six times in the Premier League this season, and hasn’t exactly impressed.
After regularly featuring for the Magpies last season then you feel the 23-year-old hasn’t done enough to impress Rafa Benitez and his future isn’t looking overly bright.
It’s a similar a story for Atsu.
The 26-year-old has just played eight times in the league so far in the current campaign, only completing 90 minutes on one occasion, and it seems if Benitez can avoid picking him then he does.
Both players are capable of delivering the goods for the Magpies and both can feature on either flank which means they are useful to Benitez in that sense as they’re cover for two positions in his team.
However given that Benitez may use the January transfer window to welcome a new winger, then surely it means that Atsu or Murphy could be pushed further down the pecking order to the point where they are forced to leave if they want to play regular football.
Neither will want to pack their bags and you feel the clash with Everton is a good chance for them to show that it’s the other player who should exit if it comes down to that.
Therefore for this reason both Murphy and Atsu are effectively competing for their futures against the Toffees as there is no better time to compare them, and the loser in the competition could soon end up packing his bags.