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Career ladder: Peter Murphy

4 March 2013

Name: Peter Murphy
Position: Defender
Date of Birth: 27/10/1980
Club: Carlisle United
Previous Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Halifax Town (loan).

What do you remember about your first ever match?
I remember I signed for Carlisle initially for a month, two days before my debut for them, on a Thursday, and I was on the bench to start off with. Halfway through the game, I came on in centre midfield - in a central midfield three - and I haven't looked back since.

My first game of League football was for Halifax Town and all I can remember was playing left wing-back and traipsing up and down the pitch. It seemed every game was just about cancelling out the other team, not really doing an amazing job.

Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero would probably be Roy Keane. Back in Ireland, everything he was, and the standards he set, was something to aspire to. He was an unbelievable player in an unbelievable team.

When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
When I was probably about 13 or 14.

As a kid, I used to just play football for the love of playing football, out in the streets. One night I was just getting ready for bed and the phone rang, I heard my mother pick it up and she started talking to a bloke who was a scout for Blackburn Rovers - I sort of worked out most of the conversation, and that it was about me - and I ran up to the top of the stairs to sit there until my mother had stopped talking to him. Then my dad started talking on the phone and after the conversation had ended they asked me if I wanted to go for a trial. That was the first time I realised I could perhaps come over to England and play football, and make a career out of it. 

Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
I'd say Rob Kelly, who is now assistant manager at Nottingham Forest. He was the youth team manager at Blackburn when I went there as a YTS. His coaching made me learn the different positions of the game and to appreciate football.

That education has stood me in good stead in my career at Carlisle because I've played many different positions for the club and done very well.

What did you spend your first wage packet on?
I'm more of a player that doesn't spend it - I tend to save it. I'm not really the extravagant type.

Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
Not really. At Carlisle I've had many squad numbers, I've even had the supposedly unlucky 13. Numbers are just numbers. I wouldn't kick up a fuss if I was given a different number. As long as I'm playing, I'm happy.

Who did you last swap shirts with?
We played against Tottenham Hotspur earlier on in the season, in a cup game, and I had asked a couple of the international players for their jerseys but unfortunately a couple of our YTS boys had been stalking outside the changing rooms. I ended up asking Andros Townsend for his shirt because I have a few friends who are football daft and support Tottenham, so I got Andros Townsend's.

There was also another kid, I can't remember his name, who played 20 minutes at the end and as we were walking off I asked him for his jersey and he said, 'yeah, yeah', and gave me it. He walked straight up the tunnel and I started laughing and said, 'you don't want mine then, no?' and he turned around as I was walking into the changing room and you could see he looked slightly mortified, and about 10 minutes later he sent somebody up to get my jersey - I had to laugh.

I don't really save many shirts for myself, I just give them to friends and family.

How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
There are a lot more athletes nowadays. There are natural athletes in the Premier League but lower down the leagues there are a lot of players that have to work very hard. Many players have to work on the physical side of their game to make themselves better. The game is ruthless and it's a lot fitter and a lot stronger.

When I first came into it, 11 years ago, it was more workmanlike. If you were fit, you were fit; if you were strong, you were strong - they were your attributes. Now, you have to be fit and strong; with skill, technique and possess some tactical awareness as well.

If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
To be honest, I don't know. I worked really hard all the time, doing extra in training. Football is a lot to do with luck as well as hard work, so just keep it going. Other than that, I don't know really. I don't really regret anything I have done in football so it's quite hard to suggest some advice for myself.

If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
All of the above. I love the game, I love being involved in training every day. I love football and I would snap a hand off to remain in the game. It's all I've ever done. I'm in a very fortunate position to have done something that I love for a very long time and hopefully that can continue.

What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
Whatever, as long as I'm remembered. You can easily disappear so hopefully I've made a good enough contribution to Carlisle, and football in general, to be remembered.

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