UWE ROSLER sees Luke Murphy as the man to bring control and a calm, assured air to Leeds United’s play this season.
The Elland Road club head to Reading on Sunday looking to claim a first win of the season.
After drawing with Burnley on the opening day, United crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties at Doncaster Rovers after playing for almost three-quarters of the two hours with ten men.
Luke Murphy entered the fray midway through the second half for his first action since a summer knee operation and Rosler is in no doubt as to how integral a part the former Crewe Alexandra midfielder has to play for the club this term.
“Since I came to the club, it has been very important to set out how we want to play,” said Rosler.
“Luke has a big role to play in that. When he is 100 per cent fit, he will add some qualities to us. You could see that against Doncaster.
“He sometimes calms us down. We can’t play all the time at the same tempo when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball. Our conversion rate in passes has to be better.
“And Luke Murphy is someone who has the experience to put his foot on the ball when it is needed to slow us down and make sure we keep the ball.
“He has that sort of football intelligence. Luke will be a very important player for us. We showed that by giving him a four-year contract. He is one of our key players.”
Murphy impressed at the Keepmoat Stadium to continue a remarkable turnaround in fortunes at Elland Road after being frozen out for the first half of last season,.
Once restored to the side by Neil Redfearn, the midfielder was a revelation and played a big part in United getting out of troubled.
Rewarded for his efforts with a new four-year contract in the summer, Murphy could make his first first start of the season at the Madejski.
“We will see now how he recovers,” said Rosler when asked about Murphy. “He played 60 minutes on Monday (for the development squad) and then a lot of minutes against Doncaster.
“It can only be good for him. It was his first minutes, including pre-season, and I think he needs match fitness.
“We might be in the situation where we have to get him to play to get match fitness. It isn’t an ideal situation but we may have to do it.”
Murphy won’t be the only player feeling the effects of a gruelling run of games that will also see Leeds travel to Bristol City on Wednesday and then host derby rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, on August 22.
Rosler added: “This week, we had to make sacrifices. Both to ourselves, to our wife and to our kids. We have to live 24/7 as a professional.
“That is our only chance to recover in time to be able to go again against Reading, especially with the travelling distance as well.
“We are up for the challenge. My players are very professional and we will be ready.”