Interview: Chelsea’s Emily Murphy

Chelsea currently occupy second in the WSL with a game in hand over top of the league Manchester City. During this lockdown period, I had the chance to catch up with Chelsea’s 17-year-old Emily Murphy. She talks about what it was like making her debut, scoring her first WSL goal against West Ham United as well as one piece of advice she was told that will stick with her forever.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Windsor, a small town outside of London. I play centre forward and sometimes winger. I used to play Rugby as a kid and so when I began football I was centre back for just over two years.

Who was your biggest footballing inspiration growing up?
Growing up I didn’t really have a football inspiration as such, my dad played Rugby and he was my inspiration. I’d go watch him play every weekend with my mum and sisters and wanted to be just like him! But watching football as a child I thought Fran Kirby was unbelievable and I wanted to play just like her.

Photo: @Emily.Murphy001

What was it like making your debut against Tottenham?
My debut against Tottenham was so surreal. I genuinely can’t put into words the emotions, thoughts and feelings that were spinning round my head. From that night, I was certain I knew that this is what I wanted to do for as long as I possibly could!

Against West Ham United you came on and scored your first WSL goal. What was that like for you?
I’d previously scored in both the Continental Cup and the FA Cup in the two games prior so before my coach put me on she said “As a team we are in three competitions, how cool would it be to score in all of them” and so  I was determined to do exactly that, my teammates encouraged me from both the pitch and bench and it was one of the most amazing games I have had to date! I didn’t realise the publicity it would receive and I was so so grateful for the opportunity.

Which senior player has helped you most with the step up?
No word of a lie, all of the senior players have helped me. As a team they are a family, they included me instantly without any issues and the experience I’ve gained from them not only on a footballing but personal level too will always stay with me. That said, Beth and I get on really well and us playing similar positions, she has helped me with my confidence, skill and managing the step up massively!

What is it like to play for a team like Chelsea at such a young age?
To play for a team like Chelsea is a dream, there are no two ways about it. To be trusted with the opportunities given to me and rewarded for my performances is all a girl like myself could ever want in her career. But don’t get me wrong it’s tough, the pressure of school and football together is hard. This said, my education is a priority as I’m so young and I need to be reminded sometimes that football won’t be going anywhere for a lot longer!

Photo: @Emily.Murphy001

How are you coping in lockdown?
Lockdown has been difficult, physically and psychologically. I’m used to a fast-paced life of school, homework and football. For the first week or two I enjoyed the rest, it has been a packed and tiring season so the break felt good. But that soon ended, I’m missing my teammates and playing so much.

How are you managing to stay fit during lockdown?
I’m staying fit by trying to find new training types that I both enjoy and feel really push me to stay fit. I’ve found cycling, running and HIIT training very useful, but also understanding the balance of maintaining freshness and keeping fit. I’m also eating a lot healthier, as I have spare time to find new meal recipes and snacks!

Your academy league was sadly voided, how did you feel about that especially as Chelsea were doing so well?
We were all gutted, my season with both teams had gone so well that it was upsetting to hear. Both trophies was something that the club had never done before in the academy and it was taken from us so late in the league and the cup it was unfortunate to say the least.

You captained England Under 17s, what was that experience like for you?
To play for your country is an experience and memory like none other. To then captain and walk your team out is unbelievable, a moment I will never forget!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I was ever given was actually said to me by one of the coaching staff at Chelsea. I get on really well with him and he gave it to me before my debut vs Tottenham, he said this: “If you’re nervous, then it’s clear you want this. Make sure not to let the nerves change how you play, you have earned this opportunity. If you don’t play well tomorrow then people don’t know who you are and merely recognise the opportunity, but if you play like I know you can then everyone suddenly asks who this young talent is and you won’t be forgotten!” That has and will stick with me for the rest of my life.