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INTERVIEW: Sam Morsy – Chesterfield star dreams of Egypt call-up
Chesterfield FC star Sam Morsy was born in Wolverhampton, where he played for the Wolves’ academy until he was released at the age of 16. Morsy was then invited to trial with Port Vale, and after impressing the coaches – former English footballers Mark Grew and Andy Porter – he earned himself a place in the Valiants’ youth team. Grew praised Morsy after watching him score twice in a youth tie against Tranmere in 2008, saying:“He’s going to be a good midfield player, there is no question about that.”
The midfielder signed his first professional contract with Port Vale at the end of the 2009/2010 season, after being named the club’s Youth Team Player of the Year. Spending a total of five years with Vale, Morsy rejected an improved two-year contract before joining then League Two side Chesterfield in 2013. In his first season at the club he was awarded Chesterfield’s Player of the Year after playing a pivotal role in his side’s League Two title win – earning them promotion to League One – as well as helping the Spireites reach Wembley for the Johnstone Paint Trophy final, where he assisted the only goal as they lost 3-1 against Peterborough.
KingFut.com caught up with the Chesterfield star…
BREAKTHROUGH & CHESTERFIELD FC
How hard was it to prove you had the talent to breakthrough as a youngster, especially after being rejected by Wolverhampton Wanderers?
I think it was a turning point in my career because I think the shock of not getting a contract, it made me think to myself I’m going to have to work a lot harder if I’m going to be a professional footballer, which was my aim at the time, so I think it was a blessing in disguise because it made me really wake up. I think it set me in a good step, really motivated me.
After receiving criticism for picking up too many cards when at Port Vale, how have you managed to control that side of your game without losing too much of an edge to your role as a midfield enforcer?
I think sometimes I’m just starting to mature as a player and as a person and I sort of control myself a bit better now but without, as you said, losing that tenacity but maybe trying to be a bit more clever as well. The staff at Chesterfield were hard with me as they are with the other players and so sometimes you need that guidance which is fantastic also.
So Chesterfield have helped you in a way to control your game?
Definitely, because they’ve put so much trust in me, they’ve made me sort of a mainstay in the team. It definitely helps you, as opposed to playing and not knowing if you’re going to be playing in the next game, and sometimes you actually try too hard to impress which then leads to those sort of mistakes.
When you do go out and play, what motivates you?
I just want to be the best really. I have an unbelievable amount of support from my family and what not over the years and a lot of people have invested time in me, but I’ve just got a burning desire to play at the best level I can possibly play at. There’s not a better feeling when you do well, and your family, girlfriend and friends are watching you achieve good things. Just again to fulfill my potential, I know a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to play professional football so I just really want to make the most of mine.
Coming off the back of such a successful season for Chesterfield, what are your aims for the upcoming season and where do you see the next stage of your career taking you?
Next season I believe we can have a really successful campaign. I think we have been a little bit disappointed that unfortunately we couldn’t bring in as many players as we would have liked, but I look at the teams in the division and I think we’ve got a strong, hungry squad. Next season we want to be competing because we think we are a good team so we hope to be up there and challenging again.
Do you think Chesterfield can push for another promotion?
I look at play-offs and I look at teams who reached play-offs last season and there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging for that. I think it’s vital that we get a good start to the season, but for sure I think there’s no reason why, if we get a good start, we can’t be really challenging.
On the back end of last season I was given more of a licence to really break forward, something I did when I was younger, so scoring goals this season is something definitely I want to improve, because I know I can score goals so now I’m going use the opportunity to add it to my game this season and to become a more valuable player for the team.
Have you been doing anything differently in training?
I practice daily with the coaches at Chesterfield, Kevin Lynch stays behind with me most days where we practice our passing and shooting or whatever, and the gaffer Paul Cook wants me scoring goals. Lee the assistant is always challenging me to get into the box more, so all these little things help and now they’re starting to come together.
If you impress in League One, would you be open to more lucrative offers as more clubs become aware of your rising reputation? Have any teams made attempts to contact you?
There were no offers in the summer but I know there was some interest but me and my agent definitely would like to have another good season in League one. I think Chesterfield is a really, really good club who play a great brand of football and with the coaching staff there I feel as if I’m improving all the time, and that was one of the reasons why I decided to extend my stay at the club – it’s a great place to learn and to work every day. They are sort of big on player development as well which of course will benefit all the players at the club.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
If I can just improve every day, stay injury free, I’d just want to play at the highest level possible really; just keep improving. Short term goal this season is just having a good season in League One, being one of the best midfielders in League One this season, then I’ll be looking to progress again hopefully with Chesterfield. It’s just about improving every season and fulfilling my potential, because I feel every season I’m getting better. Technically, tactically, physically I’m improving all the time so it’s going to be interesting to see where I can grow because I’m improving every day, so hopefully I’ll be able to fulfill my potential.
Is there one certain player you try to emulate?
My favourite player has been Roy Keane. When we played Villa the other day he was sitting there and it was good to see one of my idols.
So you support Manchester United then?
Yep, I like Man United; I mean my number one team is Barcelona but my English team would be Man United.
EYEING EGYPT CALL-UP
So, tell us about your links to Egypt?
My father is fully Egyptian and was born in Cairo, I’ve got a large family who all live in Egypt. I’ve got 15,16 different uncles and aunties; it’s a really big family who all love football, and some of my family are over here.
Do you follow Egyptian football, the league or the national team?
I always have a look at the national team results, to see what players we have and unfortunately, we missed out on the World Cup; so yeah I always have a look to see who is playing and specifically see which players from England are getting into the national team.
Do you know any Egyptian players personally that play in England?
I know Adam El-Abd who is at Bristol City, I know he’s actually played for the national team, but I don’t know anymore.
We’ve obviously got Mohamed Salah as well…
Yeah, it was fantastic for him to go to Chelsea.
Have you ever been contacted by the Egyptian national team?
No, I haven’t been contacted yet, I mean hopefully with a few more good performances in League One I could be contacted because it would be a dream to play for the national team, or just be involved in the set up and see what it’s all about at international level.
What do you think you would bring to the Egyptian national team?
I think I’m a box-to-box midfield player, a real hard worker who can break up play and link defence to attack quickly, and someone who gives it there all every time I get an opportunity to play. It would be something absolutely massive for me, so I just hope I can get a call up.
If you had the choice to play for Egypt or England who would you chose?
Do you support any Egyptian clubs?
MORSY IN THE LAND OF THE PHARAOHS
How often do you visit Egypt?
I try and visit Egypt in my off-season breaks; I’m going next summer to spend some time with my family over there.
Do you speak Arabic?
No, but I’m going to start learning; it’s something I want to learn.
When you go to Egypt and come back, what do you miss from back home?
I love the Egyptian culture; the way of living is different from over here, and it’s a lot more tight-nit family community in Egypt, where lots of the family live in the same house. It’s very family-orientated which I like.
Are there aspects of Egyptian culture or religion that you follow in England?
My dad is a practising Muslim, as is my brother and a lot of my family. I’m a Muslim as well and religion is something I feel very important to keep you humble and to always thank God for anything you may achieve; without him it’s not possible. So, all of my family are religious, my dad has opened an Islamic centre in Wolverhampton.
Favourite Egyptian dish?
My favourite would be ‘fool’ [fiva beans] my dad cooks it very nice. He always brings me dates as snacks and for half-time and doum.
This is probably the biggest question many Egyptians would like to know – are you upset that your relative is no longer Egypt’s president?
[Laughs] I get that quite a lot… Is he related to me? No. Initially I just said yes but when I saw what was happening in the news I quickly said no – it’s nothing to do with me!
To close things off, any advice for young players wanting to make it professional?
Work hard, stay humble, learn from your coaches, never stop trying to improve, always ask how can you improve how can you get better and just develop a work ethic really because I think ultimately that’s what’s going to be the difference. I’ve played with a lot of players who were really talented players who aren’t playing anymore because they didn’t have the right attitude. So definitely attitude is definitely the biggest thing.
Good luck with the new season & your game on Saturday!
Thanks! Hopefully I’ll get another goal and win!