Rhys Murphy: Bouncing back from a boot in the Arsenal

Rhys Murphy was released by Arsenal three years ago - yet another homegrown talent overlooked - now, slowly, his career is getting back on track.

Making it in football is a mixture of fine lines and brutal, cruel reality - one minute the next big thing, later simply the next on the scrapheap.

Look around the lower leagues and this tale has been played out hundreds of times.

Take Rhys Murphy, this weekend he is in contention to make his debut at League One Oldham, having jumped up a league to sign from lowly Dagenham & Redbridge on transfer deadline day.

An otherwise nondescript event.

Except, not so long ago, if you'd asked Murphy what he'd be doing on this date, he might've speculated, with some reason, that he'd be lining up in the Premier League.

In 2007, while still just a schoolboy, the forward broke into Arsenal's reserve squad, having notched 17 goals in 21 games for the Academy.

There was no doubt about it, he was a prodigy. 

And his development continued, leading Arsenal's Under-18 side to the 2008-09 Premier Academy League title, scoring the only goal in the play-off final against arch-rivals Tottenham.

He was also part of the squad, along with Jack Wilshere, that lifted the Youth Cup in 2009. That summer, he helped England to the final of the UEFA Under-19s Championships.

But then, suddenly, his development halted. The common conundrum for youngsters at the Emirates - there was no way through to the first team.

Murphy spent three months on loan at Brentford in 2009, had trials in Scotland with Rangers and Hibs, before another loan stint at Preston in 2012, which preceded his surprise release at the end of that season.

For a man that once promised so much, he was just another lost talent - particularly when he surprisingly decided to head to Holland to join second-tier side Telstar.

After a so-so stint there, scoring seven times, a return to London was on the cards - landing in Dagenham.

Within three months, he was the hottest property in League Two - topping the scoring charts - and, as the January transfer window opened, Daggers fans were understandably paranoid about their chances of keeping him.

Sure enough, the news they'd dreaded eventually broke, that a bid had been accepted from Peterborough. But Murphy rejected the move, professing loyalty to Dagenham for giving him another shot in English football.

Unfortunately, he was unable to fire the club into the play-offs, as a serious injury ruled him out for nine months of action.

And, once he'd regained something close to full fitness, he was again the subject of interest, this time agreeing a switch to Oldham, with skint Dagenham keen to cash-in.

His new side are just two points adrift of the League One play-off zone, with Latics boss Lee Johnson describing Murphy as "an exciting prospect".

If Murphy can rediscover his scoring touch of last season - or channel the success of his youth days - then he might finally start to reclimb the heights he once promised to reach.

And his under-the-radar reputation will soon change if his clinical finishing starts to become a feature on The Football League Show as it was last season.

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