Norwich City’s Josh Murphy has had to grow up fast
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
Josh Murphy may still be in his teens but the Norwich City starlet has had to grow up fast for club and country over recent months.
The 19-year-old burst onto the scene with a fearsome strike at Vicarage Road to seal a thrilling Capital One Cup comeback at Watford in September before his accelerated progress pitched into a maelstrom at Manchester City for a Premier League debut that ended in a 7-0 mauling during a campaign that lurched from frustration to desperation.
Murphy was drafted back in for Neil Adams' brief rescue mission but relegation was followed by an agonising exit for England's Under-19s who missed out on the European Championship finals through a Ukrainian stoppage time winner in what looked an unstoppable ascent to the top of their qualification pool.
Murphy has earned plenty of plaudits in his breakthrough moments but it is those tough times he is drawing on for motivation ahead of City's pre-season bow at Dereham on Saturday.
'That is what football is about. You have ups and downs and heartbreaks but this is a new season,' he said. 'All the lads here have put the relegation behind us now. It was a season to forget. We have learned lessons and we need to push on. The England thing was disappointing as well and maybe it wasn't our time. We won the first two games and just needed a point against the Ukrainians and they score in the 94th minute. I was rested for that game and was thinking maybe if I had been on the pitch I could have made a difference, but I'm focusing on the future and these are exciting times. The lads are buzzing, we realise we owe the fans but we intend to go all guns blazing at the Championship and come Wolves a nice big win to start this season. It's exciting and you always get a buzz for the new season.'
Murphy is part of a growing academy contingent populating Adams' squad. The wide players is desperate for an Aldiss Park run out this afternoon after a tough fitness regime in the opening weeks at Colney and St George's Park.
'It's been hard but all the boys are relishing the chance to play and battling for that starting spot,' he said. 'St George's was a tough week with triple sessions three out of the four days we were there, but that is what pre-season is all about. There were a lot of tired boys by the final day.
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'It does make things a bit easier for us when you see your mates coming through, me and my brother, Adel (Gafaiti), Remi (Matthews), Jamar (Loza) and even Dec (Rudd) are all in and around it.
'It just shows to the rest of the younger lads at the club that you are not too far away and you can make the breakthrough. Now this gaffer has brought in four youngsters straight from the start he is showing he means business. If you are good enough it doesn't matter what age you are. There are no guaranteed places and good competition and the senior boys make you feel welcome which is nice.