GERRY MURPHY believes Jon Worthington could yet be the next Paul Scholes.

Town’s caretaker manager has witnessed a decade of development for the 24-year-old midfielder.

And he’s convinced that had it not been for injuries and the failure to play him in his best position, Worthington would already be operating at Premier League level, like Manchester United ace Scholes.

Murphy, who will again hand the Town academy product an attacking midfield role at Port Vale on Saturday, said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that Jon is at his best as a box-to-box midfielder like Paul Scholes.

“There’s no questioning his stamina or ability to tackle, and he also times his runs very well, with the only question mark against his finishing.”

Worthington has netted only 13 times in 211 appearances, but Murphy insisted: “I believe that with experience, the goals will come.

“When he’s been played as a holding midfielder, he hasn’t had that licence to get forward, but hopefully that will change.

“He got into some very good positions against Doncaster on Saturday, and was unlucky not to score, especially with that first-half shot against a post.”

Murphy relieved Worthington of the captaincy ahead of the Doncaster game, handing experienced former Welsh international Rob Page the armband for the remainder of the season.

And he believes the switch has worked well, explaining: “I just thought the captaincy had become a burden on Jon.

“Being captain brings responsibilities off the pitch as well as on it. Jon’s had a lot on his plate in coming back from a series of injuries, and I wanted him to be able to concentrate on his football.

“Rob Page is a natural leader and he took to the job like a duck to water.”

Former Leicester boss Martin Allen, believed to be a strong contender for the Town job, watched the Reserves beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the Galpharm last night.

Beckett strikes – Page 50.