Why Daryl Murphy was happy to resist Barcelona for Barnsley and Bristol!

He could have been pitting his wits against the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta in a few weeks time, but Daryl Murphy has no regrets on turning his back on European football.

The 29-year-old completed a long-awaited return to Ipswich Town last week, having enjoyed two previous spells at Portman Road which yielded ten goals in 51 appearances.

After a strong end to last season from both a personal and team point of view, the Irishman could have been forgiven for wanting to give it another go at Celtic Park, especially with the prospect of Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow on the horizon in the Champions League.

But, in the final year of his contract and with the likes of Gary Hooper, Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras ahead of him in the Glasgow giants’ pecking order, Murphy did his best to engineer a move back down south and resigned for the Blues on a season-long loan.

“I told Neil Lennon I needed to play and wanted to come back to Ipswich and he was great with me in that respect,” said Murphy, who has made two substitute appearances for Celtic this season.


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“I wanted to go to Celtic and play but I got an injury and, to be fair, the two lads that came in (Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes) have been scoring ever since.

“Paul Jewell told me at the end of last season that he would like to have me back but thought it might be difficult. It has been a case of waiting but thankfully it all went through.”

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Murphy began his career as a striker but arrives back in Suffolk having acquired an extra string to his bow, having played the majority of last season on the left of midfield.

While never the most prolific in his career, with just 28 goals from 174 games in England and Scotland, the Republic of Ireland international still sees himself as a striker first and foremost.

“Playing up front is my preferred position but I have enjoyed it on the left and have come more confident there,” said Murphy.

“I am more than happy to play in midfield but the gaffer knows he can use me in attack as well and I think he is pleased to have the option.”

Having made his third debut in the 2-2 draw with Huddersfield on Saturday, Murphy needs no introduction to the Championship, having also played there for Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday (loan).

The division holds few surprises for the former Waterford man and Murphy insists Town must be on top of their game more often than not if they are to progress this season.

“I have always said that the Championship is competitive from top to bottom and every game is tough, especially when you are often playing two games in a week,” he said..

“In Scotland, now Rangers have dropped out, while Celtic’s games won’t be eas of the SPL, they will be expected to win week in, week out.

In England, when top plays bottom, it’s never a foregone conclusion.”

n Was Murphy right to swap Barcelona for Barnsley and Benfica for Bristol City? Tell us what you think: starsport@archant.co.uk

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