Of course, we're not going to lose the plot just because of a Premier League final. But is this an encoraging result for Murphy? Absolutely. Their's little doubt that Murphy is the best player outside of the 'big two'. Neil Robertson is improving fast, while Maguire and Selby can put in a cracking display when on form, but for consistency over the last 5 years, it has to go to the Rotherham man.
Personally, I don't care for Murphy all that much. He strikes me as very arrogant and condescending. Also, he defeated my favourite player in the 2005 World Final, and I didn't care too much for his attitude even back then. I'm not alone in my dislike of Murphy, but the qualit of his game has never been in doubt.
Having been World Champion in 2005 at the grand old age of 22, he clearly posseses a lot of talent. He makes it to ranking semi-finals on a more consistent basis than anyone else, and his record in the longer events is very impressive. Twice World Finalist, 2005 Champion, 2007 losing semi-finalist. UK Champion 2008, losing semi-finalist 2007. The ability has always been there.
I expect Murphy to become a more consistent tournament winner soon. I'd also be very surprised if he didn't win another World Title within the next three years. What I'd like to know is whether or not Murphy has the potential to become one of the great players. He's not spectacular, but he's a fine player and clearly a cut above Higgins' and Ronnie's other challengers.
I think he'll be the next World Number One after the big two, and I think he could win up to 10 ranking events. Will he become a great? Wouldn't bet against it.
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