Hendon’s futsal star Sam Murphy is on a different page to his Ryman League opponents
PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 January 2015
Hendon’s Sam Murphy believes his days playing Futsal for England have given him the edge over his Ryman League rivals.
The former Cambridge United and Peterborough United youngster swapped an international career last summer which had seen him clock up 44 caps in the smaller ball version of the national game, for a return to 11-a-side and an assault on the Ryman League play-offs with the Greens.
The 25-year-old admits it is not easy transfering the technical skills from the mainly indoor surfaces used in Futsal to the pudding-like pitches of step three of football’s pyramid.
However, he claims the speed of thought he learnt from the game he started playing as a university student at Brighton is allowing him to give most midfield rivals the slip.
“The pitches, especially ours, are a bit of a cabbage patch at the moment, so it does make it hard to transfer Futsal skills,” Murphy told the Times. “It is really hard to get the ball down and express yourself technically.
“But what Futsal has given me is the ability to think quickly and that enables you to sometimes be one or two steps ahead of the opposition midfielders in this league. I’m kind of on a different page to most of them.
“I’m able to think that little bit ahead which means, even on pitches which aren’t the best, my technical skills can get me out of tight situations. That is what I feel I’ve brought to the squad this year.”
Murphy’s transition has been a smooth one as he has been something of a fixture for Gary McCann’s men this term clocking up 35 appearances, scoring six goals.
He was at the heart of the action again in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Kingstonian – a victory which consolidated a place in the play-off scrap for the tenants of Earlsmead.
Consequently, despite missing out on the England Futsal team’s latest European Championship campaign, Murphy has no regrets about his career choice.
“I travelled the world scoring a few goals in Futsal, but I made to decision to stop that and Scott (Cousins) was keen to get me playing 11-a-side again,” he said
“The gaffer then got me in straight away and I feel that’s helped me play to the best of my ability. Hopefully I can help get us in the play-offs.”
Murphy did though admit to a few twinges of envy over another connection to his footballing roots last weekend.
Having spent 10 years in Cambridge United’s academy, he could not resist a wistful glance or two in the direction of the Abbey Stadium during his former club’s FA Cup stalemate with Manchester United on Friday.
It earned them a trip to Old Trafford for the replay next Wednesday. Hendon’s next assignment by contrast is a trip to Peacehaven & Telscombe on Saturday.
Murphy can be forgiven therefore for the odd pang of jealousy.
“I’ve played on that pitch at Cambridge quite a few times, so it was great to see Manchester United there with 8000 packed into the stadium.
“That is the magic of the FA Cup and I would have loved to have been there, so of course there was a little bit of the green-eyed monster about me.
“However, I’ve moved on from that dream and my main ambition is to get Hendon promoted.
A hamstring injury picked up against Ks ruled Murphy out of Monday’s Ryman League Cup tie with Hampton & Richmond Borough and makes him a doubt for the trip to Sussex.
Whether he passes the fitness test or not, he knows it is crucial to build on the momentum regained by Saturday’s win.
He added: “Peacehaven gave us a pretty good game up here and it will be a long journey, so we need to prepare right mentally to be in the right frame of mind to start on the front foot again.”
The Greens have signed former Spurs academy player Roman Michael-Percil.
The pacy winger is a friend of striker Kezie Ibe and having failed to settle at Essex side Billericay Town has now joined Hendon until the end of the season.
The Republic of Ireland youth international had trials with Ipswich, Brentford and Southend United after leaving Tottenham.