Jacob’s rise could help Josh Murphy reach new heights with Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Sports reporter GAVIN CANEY looks at what could be next for both Murphys after Jacob's flying start to the term.
Jacob Murphy's explosive opening-day showing may provide Alex Neil with a bigger boost than he realises.
The Norwich City winger was in flying form at Ewood Park during a goalscoring first league start for the Canaries. And while Neil is tipping the England youth international to take the Championship by storm this season, his emergence could spark a fellow team-mate's Carrow Road career into life. Leading sports psychologist Dr Victor Thompson feels the 21-year-old's breakthrough will provide hope to his closest ally at the club – identical twin Josh.
'Twins grow up in each other's presence,' said the London-based specialist.
'They get used to competing for attention on the same level early on when they're looking for care, nappy changes and to satisfy their hunger. Naturally being together so often means there can be intense competition, a friendly rivalry, across a variety of issues that will arrive throughout life.'
That sibling rivalry – in its most intense genetic form between two humans with almost identical DNA – can be a powerful force if used correctly.
The Murphys have spoken at large about how close they are, and remain, while their career has been littered with cases of one drawing inspiration from the other's successes.
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If that happens again during the early stages of the campaign, it may not be just Jacob who is making a real name for himself after years of promise in Norfolk.
'If siblings, and twins especially, are really close they can feel good when the other one does well,' added Dr Thompson.
'It can also make them think 'I will have a bit of that as well' and increase expectations that you in turn can achieve the same because you have the same opportunities and abilities.'
Given the trust Neil is starting to show in Jacob, it would hardly be a surprise if he started to feel the same way towards his mirror image.
Playing alongside each other regularly in City's first team is all the Murphys ever wanted. Now one's set the benchmark, they may get their wish sooner than they expected.
The intrinsic desire to be the better twin never fully goes away
The drive to be better clearly comes from within.
But it doesn't half help when you've got your twin beside you for extra motivation.
It's something that certainly helped drive me forward throughout my early years of education.
While I shared my sister's delight in her sporting or academic achievements, the truth is I always wanted to do better. To be the best Caney. And I wasn't alone in feeling that way.
So when I represented the county at cross country, she sure as hell was going to do the same in netball.
When I fell just short at Norfolk football trials I don't doubt there was some, however tiny, relief, deep, deep, deep down in Kelly's being. We pushed each other to run quicker. Jump higher. Learn harder. It's what friends do well, siblings do better and twins excel at. If you look at the genetics of how twins come to be formed it's not a shock.
To say we're cut from the same cloth is an understatement. And while the fire of that rivalry burns slightly less fiercely now that we're 28, there's no doubt the flames can be fanned pretty quickly.
I know at my wedding recently she was comparing it to her own.
I wouldn't be who I was if it wasn't for her. And I'm sure she'd say the same. We still get each other – even when we don't agree on things.
Now she lives in Australia my enjoyment in seeing her do well has only intensified – as has our desire to achieve more than each other in our chosen fields of journalism and nursing.
That's because it's intrinsic. It's second nature. It'll never leave us.
And it'll never leave the Murphys either.
Comment by Gavin Caney