Josh Murphy: Celtic target has a future at Cardiff City, says Neil Harris

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales

Cardiff City manager Neil Harris insists Josh Murphy has a "big part" to play for the club after they rejected a bid from Celtic for the winger.

It is understood the Scottish champions tried to sign Murphy on loan - with an option to buy - in the January window.

The 24-year-old has only started two of Cardiff's 14 Championship fixtures since Harris took charge in November.

But he shone in Tuesday's FA Cup loss to Reading, scoring twice in a 3-3 draw before the Royals won on penalties.

Asked if Murphy still has a future at Cardiff, Harris said: "Of course he does."

The former Millwall boss added: "He divides opinion within the fan base. I get that all the time when I'm stopped in coffee shops or supermarkets.

"He divides opinion. That is ultimately what he is as a wide player.

"When he's hot, like he was against Reading, he's unplayable.

"And when he's not and when it doesn't quite come off for him, you can question how much he's done on the pitch. But that is the sort of player he is."

Murphy cost Cardiff £11m when he joined from Norwich City in June 2018.

The former England Under-20 international impressed for the Bluebirds in the Premier League last season as his pace and trickery caused problems for top-flight full-backs.

But Murphy has lost his way this season and has been low on confidence as he struggles to command a regular first-team place for Cardiff in the Championship.

The FA Cup has offered him some respite, and Tuesday's brace against Reading took his season's tally in the competition to three goals in four appearances.

Harris hopes that was a sign of things to come, and that Murphy might replicate that form in the Championship.

"We have to find a way of getting more out of him because he has got superb potential," he added.

'Josh is different, he's a technical player'

"Then he's got a big part to play under me. You've got to put confidence and belief in players and you've got to ask for patience.

"It's not been an easy period for the club and, when you're asking for patience in individual players, you're asking a lot because they [the fans] just want to see their team have a right go.

"Murph is a slightly different player to a Joe Ralls or a Will Vaulks or even Callum Paterson, who play with their hearts on their sleeves and would run through a brick wall.

"Josh is different, he's a technical player, and we have to appreciate his different attributes in the team.

"I'm really pleased for him."

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