Sheffield United: Blades star feels the call of duty
Jamie Murphy, speaking before tomorrow’s crucial League One encounter with Walsall, revealed the unusual combination responsible for helping him settle at Bramall Lane.
“When I first came here I was staying in the hotel near the ground with quite a few of the other lads,” the Sheffield United winger said. “They’re all really fond of Turkish food and there’s a restaurant only a short walk away that we went to.
“It was a regular thing. Going out for something to eat and getting to know each other.
“We didn’t really talk about football. To be honest, it was a nice way to relax and get away from things although of course what had gone on during the week did come up in conversation.
“Looking back, doing that helped me feel as if I was a part of the group really quickly.
“Now I’ve moved out and got a flat I keep in touch with my mates back home online. We play Call of Duty against each other on the X-Box and I’m getting pretty handy at that.”
United manager Danny Wilson admits he took a “calculated risk” by naming Murphy, a January signing from Motherwell, in the team which drew with Carlisle on Monday.
But the winger, who had been nursing hamstring and back complaints since last month’s visit to Stevenage, is expected to enjoy a more prominent role at the Bescot Stadium after reporting no ill-effects following his second-half cameo against Greg Abbott’s side.
United, fourth in the League One table and beaten once in 10 games, enter the match four places above their latest opponents.
Murphy’s pace and trickery could prove invaluable as Wilson’s charges look to record what would be an eye-catching victory given Walsall’s impressive form of late.
Dean Smith’s side, narrowly beaten at Bramall Lane in October, have won six and drawn six of their last 12 games.
Will Grigg, their prolific centre-forward, has scored nine goals during that sequence but was rested for the Bank Holiday derby with Coventry City.
Walsall scored four without reply in his absence with Jamie Paterson and Craig Westcarr, previously of Chesterfield, both netting twice.
“I felt absolutely fine afterwards,” Murphy said. “And I felt fine out there on the pitch too so, from a personal perspective, that’s good.
“It’s been frustrating few weeks because you want to be involved as much as possible, even during training, so it’s great to be back and hopefully I can play my part in getting us up.”