'I thought it was a prank call' - Norfolk star on Manchester City approach

Manchester City star Lauren Hemp

Manchester City's Norfolk-born star Lauren Hemp - Credit: PA

Norfolk star Lauren Hemp thought she was the victim of a prank call when Manchester City tried to sign her. 

“Someone rang me, to this day I’m still not 100pc sure who it was,” she said. 

“They said, ‘look, City are interested in you, I’ve had discussions with (then manager) Nick Cushing and they’re really keen to have a chat with you. 

“I didn’t think anything of it, I thought it was a prank call. I didn’t think a team like that would be interested in me. I didn’t have a clue who this person was so I told my mum. Next thing I know, she’s rang Nick and got him on the phone. She said, ‘Is this genuine? Lauren has just had a call’, and he said, ‘yeah, it’s completely genuine’.” 

Hemp, from North Walsham, was playing for Bristol City at the time but had just been named PFA Young Player of the Year for 2017-2018. 

Manchester City's Lauren Hemp

Lauren Hemp on the ball for Manchester City - Credit: PA

Now 20 years old, she had a trial for Norwich City’s Centre of Excellence when she was nine and didn’t get in – although older sister Amy did. 

In an interview with Sportsmail she said: “For her to get in and me not to was quite difficult but at that age you just get on with it and pick yourself up.” 

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She was successful at Norwich the following year before eventually heading out of Norfolk to Bristol. 

“It was hard to begin with,” she admitted. “I’d go away on tours with Norwich and cry every night and struggle to sleep because I was missing home. I don’t think I realised how difficult it would be at first.” 

Hemp is desperate to win the Champions League with City, although they have a huge task ahead of them now, having been beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday night. The second leg is next Wednesday. 

"I don't think it's a tough task," Gareth Taylor said. "I think we can turn it around. It's within our capabilities. The way this team has performed this season and the goals we have scored, I think we can do it, no problem at all." 

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