Rafa Benitez says Daryl Murphy WILL improve his Newcastle United side – even if he doesn’t make it on to the pitch.
The former Sunderland striker joined from Ipswich Town late last month.
Benitez wanted a powerful striker to challenge Aleksandar Mitrovic for a place in his team.
Murphy – who scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland during the international break – brings with him a wealth of Championship experience to St James’s Park.
But the 33-year-old knows there are a number of players ahead of him in the pecking order at the club, which takes on Derby County at the iPro Stadium on Saturday evening.
Asked how much Murphy could contribute this season, Benitez said: “That depends on him, it depends on the others, but he will be good for the competition.
“Sometimes we talk about a player has been a disaster, because he’s not played all that much, but the thing you need to realise is that maybe because he’s there, he’s keeping the other ones on their toes, then he’s doing a job and doing well.
“It’s all about the team at the end. The main thing is to get us back into the Premier League.
“If someone players more or less games, or scores more or less goals, it doesn’t matter to me.”
The signing of Murphy – who spent five years on Wearside earlier in his career – surprised fans on Tyneside.
And Benitez knows Murphy – and United’s other 11 signings – will be judged on what they do on the pitch between now and the end of the season.
“In terms of football, always you are right beforehand, but for me it’s afterwards when you need to be right so I would like to be right at the end of the season,” he said.
“What I have seen from him is a good professional.
“People will have their own opinion about him, but we know about him for his previous club and the national team, and from the training sessions he’s had here we’re confident he will give us something.”