Impressive Murphy was in demand

BRIAN Murphy had no shortage of potential offers to return to the English game, but he didn't get "the buzz" until Ipswich Town came knocking at his door.

Carl Marston

BRIAN Murphy had no shortage of potential offers to return to the English game, but he didn't get "the buzz" until Ipswich Town came knocking at his door.

Murphy has had an outstanding last three seasons in the League of Ireland, where he kept an amazing 63 clean-sheets in 97 league appearances for champions Bohemians.

His form between the posts sparked off interest from other clubs, both in England and Scotland, but the 26-year-old resisted the temptation to leave his native Ireland for a second time, until Town's intervention last Autumn.

"It was not my intention to come back," confessed Murphy.

"I was enjoying my football back home, and I was happy with my lifestyle outside football.

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"The interest elsewhere had not really excited me or made me stop and think about it.

"There had been a lot of interest in the last couple of seasons, with me coming back to England, though most of it was speculation.

"There were some teams in Scotland, and some other Championship clubs.

"However, there was nothing that really excited me, or gave me a good buzz.

"But once I knew that Ipswich were interested, and it was genuine interest that they wanted to speak to me, I was excited very quickly.

"I've been attracted by the magnitude of the club, and having a chance to play for Ipswich, knowing that it would be a straight fight between me and the other keepers."

Murphy endured a frustrating seven seasons as a young professional in England, from the year 2000, having learnt his trade at Manchester City.

He never made an appearance for City, and only had 13 senior outings at his next club Swansea City, before successfully kick-starting his career back in Ireland.

"I think that I've massively improved since my earlier days at Manchester City," continued Murphy.

"It was Joe Royle who took me there. I was in the Academy for just one year, and then went straight into training with the first team.

"I got on the bench for the final game of the season at Chelsea, which gave me a taste of it, but I didn't play that many games before I returned to Ireland.

"However, I was still only about 22 when I left Swansea.

"I didn't know how I would cope, going back to Ireland and playing up to 30, 40 or even 50 games a season.

"But it's always best to be playing games, and learning from making mistakes in games. I rebuilt my career in Ireland.

"I think I've proved myself to be a good keeper in Ireland, and it was certainly a big boost for me to be picked for the Irish squad (for the World Cup play-offs against France). Not many players based in Ireland get called up by their country.

"Hopefully, it also made supporters think, back in Ipswich, that I can't be that bad!

"This year the league (in Ireland) is not in it's best position, so perhaps it was now the right time to come back.

"I think the English game is a little bit sharper. I've noticed that already in training, with things coming at me a bit quicker.

"There's obviously a big difference in the money and the budgets between the two leagues," added Murphy.

Although Murphy has been unavailable for selection, until this Sunday's trip to Leicester City, due to the closure of the transfer window, he has become a familiar face around Portman Road in recent weeks.

He is now vying with Arran Lee-Barrett for a place in the Ipswich starting line-up.

"It's been a tough few weeks in terms of training," explained Murphy.

"I'm now in my fourth week of training. I've had to get my fitness up to the correct level, which I think I've managed.

"I've also got to know the lads and the management.

"I was on the back of a long season in Ireland, and I then had three-and-a-half weeks off, following the international trip. To be honest, I didn't do that much during this time, so it's been like a mini pre-season for me, "We were in the middle of my own season in Ireland, when I knew that I was coming to Ipswich, so I had to put that to the back of my head.

"But the night after we played our last game, and lifted the trophy, I was thinking to myself - "that's it. I'm off to pastures new."

"It feels good to be at Ipswich, and it feels unbelievable to be working under Roy Keane," concluded Murphy.