Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce confirms Rushian Hepburn-Murphy will not be involved in the weekend’s FA Cup squad. The eighteen year old’s contract runs out in the summer.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is betting on himself.
RHM and his agency believe he is worth far more than what Aston Villa have been offering over the last calendar year. As such, they have rejected numerous contract offers that would make RHM the highest paid academy player ever at Bodymoor Heath.
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Refresher: Hepburn-Murphy made his Premier League debut on March 14th, 2015 at the age of sixteen.
In a 4-0 drubbing of Sunderland, Hepburn-Murphy replaced Christian Benteke with seven minutes remaining.
Then manager Tim Sherwood and the entire Aston Villa faithful believed RHM was the next star to emerge from the Aston Villa Academy.
Contract negotiations are rarely ever made public, but it is safe to say they took a massive U-turn over the last week. Bruce included RHM in Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Cardiff – even bringing him off the bench in search of an equalizing goal.
Just yesterday, Bruce confirmed with the press that RHM will not be involved in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur. A worrying sign that negotiations went south.
RHM – and his consultants – believe if Aston Villa won’t offer what they are looking for, some other club will. Perhaps a West Ham United, a Celtic, or a Newcastle United come calling and offer him an even more massive pay increase; one that puts him on par with several first-team players.
Whatever path RHM takes, Steve Bruce is correct in not including him any further until pen is put to paper. The entire organization must move forward with players that are committed and contracted to the club.
But do not blame Hepburn-Murphy; he is betting on himself and rightfully so. A bet that could backfire for the young, talented striker.