Attacking midfielder McAtee has been in magnificent form so far this term, scoring seven goals in total – including successive PL2 hat-tricks – to help us rise to top spot in the table.
A key member of the squad that won the PL2 title last term, McAtee – along with Sam Edozie and Cole Palmer – also featured extensively in the pre-season preparations with Pep Guardiola’s first team squad.
And Barry-Murphy says the hard work, diligence and selfless attitude that characterises their approach underpins the values that underpin the most successful squads.
“From my experience, the very best groups that form and go onto achieve the best they can be all have guys at the top who are willing to work hard for the rest of the lads,” Barry-Murphy asserted.
“From day one I’ve seen that and that’s been the thing that has satisfied me the most.
“Cole (Palmer) shows that when playing with us which is very important, Sam (Edozie) has been excellent too and it’s very important those players can adapt.
“James’ attitude to these games has been spot on but I think we can push him even harder.
“I think there is loads of his game he can still develop, and he’ll know that as he’s a very intelligent player.
“But the way he’s working in sync with the rest of the team is great for me because it’s very valuable.
“I’m in the very early stages of getting to know James but I think he’s conscious of the fact he wants to get into positions where he can score goals
“I think it’s just about him putting himself in that position in the box all the time as much as he can in line with what the rest of his team-mates want and those options will flow.
“How many goals or assists he will get is hard to quantify but you can see there is a real focus on what he wants to become in the final third.”
Pointing to the unified team ethic that has been the hallmark in our fine start to the season, Barry-Murphy said such vital qualities were the bedrock of a successful side.
But he also said those moments where adversity strikes would prove equally crucial in helping further shape the players’ development and mentality.
“The most satisfying thing is that the players have a hunger to improve and to challenge themselves and a willingness to do it for each other,” Barry-Murphy continued.
“Within football everyone wants to know what they are going to get for themselves. For me the challenge is to create that common goal
“If we can create that spirit, it feels great when winning but over the next few months we will lose games and for me the real chance for us to grow as individuals and as a group will be those challenges.
“Last season for myself was a season of real up and downs and some real difficult moments and that’s when you learn the most about yourself.”