Danny Murphy: From chasing Scholes to chasing horses
These days, when Liverpool cult hero Danny Murphy is not on television as a football pundit, you might be surprised by what he is getting up to.
I rode a horse for the first time in my life a few weeks ago and I am now starting to ride ... nobody knows that
Football has taken a back seat and, in its place, Murphy has tried to master the art of equestrian, especially in the last few weeks.
It may not, however, be his first choice as a hobby, as he readily admitted to FourFourTwo while he was in Singapore for the England vs Germany Masters match, which will be played at the National Stadium.
“My daughter and my wife are keen horse riders and I rode a horse for the first time in my life a few weeks ago and I am now starting to ride for the first time. Nobody knows that,” Murphy shared.
“I am trying to be a lover (of it) but not yet and it’s quite scary.
“Have you tried it before? If you had, you would know what I am talking about because it’s not for everybody. But because my daughter and wife are, I am trying to embrace it for them.”
The 39-year-old will have a welcome respite from horse riding this weekend though as he goes up against former Liverpool teammate Dietmar Hamann in midfield.
It will be a fun experience, Murphy expects. But more than the leisure aspect of it all, the former Fulham midfielder is also looking forward to finally being able to pair up with Paul Scholes.
They were often called up simultaneously by England during their playing careers but Murphy rarely saw playing time as the Three Lions were blessed with a plethora of quality midfielders at that time, he said.
In his 20-year career, Murphy only managed a paltry total of nine appearances for his national team.
“Playing alongside someone like Paul Scholes is going to be a pleasure. I spent so many years chasing him, playing against him, and getting a chance to play alongside him would be nice.
“In terms of games that I didn’t play, I was in a lot of squads for many years and when I look back now, maybe yeah, you would wish you had played more.
“But the problem I had was that I was competing with (David) Beckham, Nicky Butt, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes — really good players. My dad’s family is Irish, maybe if I had played for Ireland I would’ve got a hundred caps, who knows?”
Looking back, Murphy reflected that it was not the lack of games for England that perturbed him — in fact, he was chuffed that he fulfilled his lifelong dream of donning his nation’s colours, no matter how few times he played.
What disappointed him the most throughout his career was that he never managed to feature at the biggest stage possible — the FIFA World Cup.
It would be nice to be part of that, maybe score a goal or a free-kick
Murphy rued the metatarsal injury in particular that ruled him out of the 2002 World Cup and resulted in him having to withdraw from the squad.
As such, he was looking to make up for lost time in an England shirt against Germany on Saturday. Sort of.
“I was in the squad when England won 5-1 in Berlin and as you know the squad was quite big and not all (who were called up) were on the bench; the rest would be sitting in the stands and I was one of those.
“I remembered sitting, watching, thinking ‑ I would just love to be on that pitch right now, creating history.
“This wouldn’t be creating history but if we can give Germany a bit of hiding, it would be nice to be part of that, maybe score a goal or a free-kick. “
Main Photo: Weixiang Lim/FFT