JOSH MURPHY had never felt so lonely after being split from twin brother Jacob.
Having played together from the age of seven — and at Norwich since joining the Under-12s — the pair were separated when Jacob signed for Newcastle in a £12million deal last summer.
Yet they have now adjusted to life a couple of hundred miles apart — and both are flourishing at the halfway point of the season.
The identical 22-year-olds, both wingers and with similar attributes, illustrated their potential by helping Norwich to a shock FA Youth Cup success over Chelsea in the 2013 final.
Josh is now hoping for another victory over Chelsea today as he looks to continue his recent improvement in form.
Meanwhile, Jacob capped an impressive display to set up Ayoze Perez’s winner in Newcastle’s 1-0 win at Stoke on Monday.
Josh said: “It has been weird without Jacob. It was always going to be weird. If we were just brothers it would be different. As twins, you cannot explain it.
“We went on loan to different clubs but we always knew we would be coming back to Norwich, so we would be together.
“It did not feel as though we were missing each other that much but now he has gone to Newcastle and not coming back.
“I found it a bit difficult. I was trying to adapt to not being with him all the time.
“We would bounce off each other in training but we have had to make the transition.
“We are obviously big boys now and we can look after ourselves.
“But we still speak every day. Back in the changing room, we are always on the phone with each other. We still watch each other’s games on TV.
“The way Jacob has been performing in recent weeks for Newcastle is really good and hopefully I can replicate that against Chelsea.”
Although Norwich have missed Jacob, life has become easier for some at the Canaries’ training ground in Colney — and even for officials.
Smiling, Josh said: “Yes, there have been a few cases of mistaken identity.
One first-team game against Fulham in the FA Cup, Jacob did a foul and I got in trouble. I said to the ref, ‘I will take it but it wasn’t me!’.
“When you get to know us you can see the differences between us and our different personalities.
“Most of the time, people would say, “Murph” and whichever one of us was nearest would reply.
“Someone would say, “Jacob” and I would turn around and continue the conversation and vice versa.
Later in the day, I would tell Jacob the conversation and that someone thought they were talking to him.
“That’s the twin thing. On the Fifa stats. one would have a higher rating even though we are both quick. One time he had better shooting stats than me which I was not happy about as my shooting is better than his!”
Where are they now?
CHELSEA head to Norwich today as they launch their bid to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2012.
Yet the West Londoners have enjoyed a stranglehold on the FA Youth Cup, having lifted the trophy in six of the last eight seasons.
But in the 2013 final they lost 4-2 to Norwich over two legs and CHARLIE WYETT looks at how both starting line-ups have progressed since.
MITCHELL BEENEY: Loaned to Newport then played four games on loan at Crawley last season. Still at Cobham.
OLA AINA: First-team bow against Bristol Rovers in EFL Cup last season and defender played first Prem game against Leicester. On loan at Hull.
ALEX DAVEY: Loaned to Scunthorpe, Peterborough, Stabaek in Norway and Crawley. Joined Cheltenham before heading to Torquay on loan.
ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN: Massive success story. Joined Chelsea aged 15 and after two years at Borussia Monchengladbach, now a first-team star.
ADAM NDITI: Released in 2014. Has played for Basingstoke, Guildford City and Woodley United.
LEWIS BAKER: Loaned to Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons before spending two years at Vitesse Arnhem. Now on loan at Middlesbrough.
JOHN SWIFT: Midfielder made Chelsea debut as a replacement for Eden Hazard v Cardiff in 2014. Loaned to Rotherham, Swindon, Brentford and signed a three-year deal at Reading in 2016.
RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK: Senior debut came in 2014 in Champions League game v Sporting Lisbon. Made 17 appearances before being loaned to Crystal Palace. Has also played for England.
ISLAM FERUZ: Unfulfilled talent. Signed long-term deal in 2014 and moved on loan to OFI Crete before spells at Blackpool, Hibs, Excel Mouscron and Swindon. Still under contract.
JEREMIE BOGA: French midfielder joined Rennes on loan in 2015 and then farmed out to Granada, scoring v Barcelona last April. Made debut v Burnley in August. On loan at Birmingham.
ALEX KIWOMYA: Loan spells at Barnsley, Fleetwood and Crewe. Forward joined Doncaster on a three-year deal last summer but has been hit by illness. Yet to play after contracting the rare auto-immune condition Guillain-Barre syndrome.
WILL BRITT: Has quit football. The keeper was on loan from Southampton but never recovered fully from a knee injury. Has gone into boxing and hopes to have first bout this year.
CAMERON NORMAN: Had loan spell at Woking in 2015 before joining Norwich United in Ryman League. Went to Concord, now at King’s Lynn.
BEN WYATT: Joined rivals Ipswich in 2014 and after spells at Maldon & Tiptree and Colchester, signed for Braintree in the summer.
CAMERON McGEEHAN: Was Canaries captain, former Chelsea youth. Joined Luton for £100,000 then switched to Barnsley for £1million. Joined Scunthorpe on loan on Thursday.
KYLE CALLAN-McFADDEN: Irish centre-back made first-team bow v Crawley in EFL Cup in 2014 but was released. Joined Orlando City B before switching to Sligo Rovers in 2016.
HARRY TOFFOLO: Left-back joined Swindon on loan in 2014. Made Norwich debut in 2015 before loan spells at Peterborough, Scunthorpe and currently Doncaster.
JACOB MURPHY: Debut v Fulham in FA Cup in 2014 before loans at Swindon, Southend, Blackpool, Scunthorpe and Colchester. Hit 11 goals for Norwich last term. Joined Newcastle for £12m.
HARRY RANDALL: Midfielder left Norwich in 2014 and is now at Bishop’s Stortford.
CARLTON MORRIS: Still at club but not played since Championship bow against Wigan in 2015. The striker had loans at Oxford, York, Hull, Hamilton, Rotherham and now at Shrewsbury.
CAMERON KING: Debut v Shrewsbury in 2014 but released to get medical help for migraines brought on playing football. Now at Shamrock Rovers.
JOSH MURPHY: First-team debut v Watford in EFL Cup in Sept 2013. Loaned to Wigan and MK Dons but has played 86 times for Norwich.
As for Chelsea, Josh is hoping history will repeat itself. In 2013, he scored the third goal in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, in a 3-2 win against a side that included Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen.
He said: “Our group did not know we would win it but there was such a good togetherness.
“Even now, I am smiling just thinking about it. Chelsea had a better team on paper but we all played well as a team.
“It means a lot coming through the system and winning the most important thing you can do as a youth-team player. And to then get into the first team and stay there. Jacob got his move to Newcastle, other boys are out on loan but there are others who are not even playing.”
As for this season, under new boss Daniel Farke, Josh gives an honest assessment.
Norwich have picked up seven points from a possible nine since Christmas but are still only 13th.
Josh, who scored his eighth goal of the season in the 2-0 Boxing Day win at Birmingham, said: “This season has been hit and miss. I have been quite inconsistent.
“I have to be consistent every week and over the Christmas period I have found that. Against Arsenal in the League Cup, I scored and did really well and other games in the Championship, I could have been excelling but I have not been performing.
“We know whatever Chelsea team they bring will be a strong one but hopefully we can do well.
“For me, the aim is to keep progressing at all levels.
“Jacob has played for England’s Under-21s but I have not been called up, although I have played at other levels.
“The dream is for us to both play for England, on either wing. With hard work, you never know.”