By 90Min
August 27, 2018

Josh and Jacob Murphy became only the second pair of twins to face off against each other in a Premier League game last weekend - the first being Will and Michael Keane - when they lined up for Cardiff City and Newcastle respectively.

It was certainly a surreal experience for the two, who had enjoyed over ten years together with Norwich City before Jacob moved on to Newcastle in 2017. Their senior careers with the Canaries were both reasonably impressive, but it was nothing close to the potential they had shown during their time in the youth setup.

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In fact, the Murphy twins are a huge part of the reason why Norwich City are one of only two teams to have lifted the FA Youth Cup since 2012. They defeated Chelsea in the final of the 2013 tournament which, considering Chelsea have won six of the last seven FA Youth Cups, was an incredible achievement.

The brothers dominated the competition that season with their dribbling and creativity leaving opponents completely dumbfounded. Josh even managed to score in the second leg of the final, capping off a phenomenal team performance.

The pair were rightly regarded as future stars for the England senior team but, five years later, the two are yet to make the next step in their careers.

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Jacob left Norwich to join Newcastle for a fee of around £12m, after almost registering nine goals and eight assists in the Championship during the previous season. However, the step up to the Premier League has seen Jacob struggle. 

In 26 top flight appearances, Jacob has one goal and one assist to his name. Josh admitted to The Sun at the turn of the year that he was struggling emotionally after being separated from his brother, and Jacob likely felt the same.

Whilst Jacob was struggling in the Premier League, Josh eventually moved on from his brother's departure and enjoyed success in the Championship. He hit seven goals and three assists last year with Norwich, before joining Cardiff City following their promotion.

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Josh started for Cardiff against Newcastle, and ran riot in the first half. He completely dominated Newcastle's Javi Manquillo, leaving fans of Newcastle calling the right-back the worst defender the club has ever seen.

Jacob entered the match as a second-half substitute, and the face off with his brother was a huge talking point for all of nine minutes before Josh was withdrawn. Even though the match ended goalless, Josh showed glimpses of his potential with his direct running and exciting dribbling.

It was an exciting return to the Premier League for Josh, who featured for Norwich back in 2013. He has improved as a player, and will be keen to kick on now that he is an established member of a Premier League side.

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The pair certainly have room for improvement but the fact that they are now playing at the same level, with the chance to see each other play twice a season, could prove to be the catalyst needed to help the pair push on.

They have regularly spoken about a so-called 'twin telepathy', describing the close bond between the two. Josh spoke to Wales Online about their recent victory in a tournament for the video game Fortnite, managing to help each other despite malfunctioning microphones. Instead, they communicated using broken English and mumbled sounds, yet they seemed unfazed.

They are hugely competitive, with Josh admitting that they used to argue about their respective ratings in the FIFA video game series. They also compared appearances for England's youth teams, with Josh admitting that it was their dream to line up on both wings for the senior team.

Now that they are both Premier League players, they will undoubtedly be comparing performances and statistics. If they can channel their competitiveness, they may find themselves desperate to outperform the other. After all, there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition.

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England have often lacked a player who can ask questions of the opposition as a result of their direct dribbling, but the Murphy twins have the potential to be that player. If they continue their development, then the sky really is the limit.

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