JOSH Murphy is glad to be repaying the faith put in him by Des Buckingham, after he looked to ‘prove a few people wrong’ in the summer.

The 29-year-old winger joined Oxford United in July 2022, but has endured a turbulent time at the club.

Signed by Karl Robinson, who he worked with during a loan spell at MK Dons, Murphy struggled for form and fitness at the beginning of his time at United, and played just 15 times before Robinson was sacked in February of last year.

Just six of those 15 appearances were starts, and regular game time also proved difficult under Robinson’s successor Liam Manning.

Murphy played nine more times before the end of the 2022/23 campaign, while this season, he made six appearances in Sky Bet League One, none of which were starts, prior to Manning’s departure to Bristol City in November.

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Under Buckingham though, Murphy has thrived, scoring his first league goals for the U’s last month.

Murphy said: “I really like the way that he plays and I feel like I’ve benefited from him coming in. He wants the wingers to play with freedom and to express themselves.

“We’ve got four or five wingers in those positions, that can do that, and are game-winners. It’s just about us taking those opportunities when we get them.

“He’s definitely playing me more than other managers have done, so there’s a bit of repaying the faith.

“It’s great that he’s put that trust in me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted since I came here, to be given the chance to show my abilities, and I feel like it’s coming out.”

In the immediate aftermath of Manning’s exit, interim boss Craig Short praised Murphy after a two-goal display against Chelsea Under-21s in the EFL Trophy.

Oxford Mail:

Short said of Murphy at the time: “He came back in great shape in the summer. He won everything, the jump test, the sprint test and the four-minute test.”

Murphy said: “I just wanted to prove a few people wrong, and I feel like I’ve done that. That’s in the past now and I just want to look forward, play my football, and let the football do the talking.”

The former Cardiff City winger added: “It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing, but that’s why I’ve been happy with the way I’ve kept my head down and worked.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the team, and if I’m doing the best I can to push the other players, then so be it. Whatever role I have to play, I will always do that for the team.”

Murphy is currently battling with the likes of Tyler Goodrham, Owen Dale and Tyler Burey for a place on the wing at United.

He said: “If you’re not at the levels, then there’s going to be someone there to take your place straight away.

“It’s healthy competition, not just in the winger position, but all over the pitch.

“We’ve got options everywhere, and I think as long as you’ve got that shirt, you’ve got to play your socks off and keep your position.”