'I didn't want to go to Norwich' - Marshall opens up on troubles during City spell
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Ben Marshall has detailed why he decided to walk away from professional football after a spell at Norwich City that saw him suffer from mental health problems.
The 29-year-old signed for the Canaries from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2018, a signing that was met with excitement and expectation from supporters. Marshall started the opening three games of the 2018/19 Championship season at right-back but admitted he never wanted to sign for City in the first place.
"The conversation I had was that I didn't really want to go to Norwich because it's the other end of the earth," Marshall said.
"I said to my agent that I want four years and a decent whack (of money). They said yeah. So I went up and from day one, I knew from walking in (that it wasn't going to work).
"Days off would class as being in on a Sunday and then being in at 3pm on a Monday. It was 24 hours and that was a day off. It didn't click really and he (Daniel Farke) wanted to play me right-back.
"I actually started the first three games at right-back and I got torn up. But at Blackburn, I got player of the season playing at right-back and scored nine goals or whatever it was. It just didn't click."
Asked if his contract at Carrow Road was the most lucrative of his career, Marshall replied: "When we went up, yeah."
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Marshall was loaned out to Millwall in January after he signed, before his contract was mutually terminated in July 2019. The former Blackburn Rovers man has admitted his time in Norfolk saw him suffer from depression.
"I was living by myself in this 'castle'. When I got home from training, all I wanted to was to do was sleep. I didn't think anything of it until the doctor pulled me in and said 'you're showing signs of depression'.
"At Blackburn, even if I was rough, I'd still be the perky one. At Norwich, I'd get in, have a coffee and just sit there on my phone playing Candy Crush. I was in the middle of nowhere, I didn't know anyone," Marshall told the Under the Cosh podcast.
"If I'm honest, I think anyone being at Norwich is going to get a bit of depression," Marshall joked.
Throughout the podcast, Marshall shares several stories including training with a hangover at Blackburn to describing wild and manic nights out drinking during his career. Despite that, Marshall said his mental health stopped him from drinking alcohol and saw him lose enjoyment for everything, including football.
"Do you know the weird thing about that? From the start of the season until when I went to Millwall, I didn't touch a drop. I didn't have a drink," he continued. "I just couldn't be (bothered). I just wanted to go home, sleep and play on the Xbox.
"The more I look back on how I was at Norwich, it was depression because you just don't want to do anything. You just want to keep yourself to yourself and not get in anyone's way. You go to training and go back home."
Marshall is now playing for Stoneclough FC in the West Lancashire Division One, which is the 12th tier of the English pyramid. The ex-City man recalls a humorous anecdote about his current side having to ring the Canaries up to receive authorisation for his signature.
In the end, Marshall's love for football had evaporated and he tore up his Canaries contract to find enjoyment in his life again. Despite training with Bolton Wanderers and being inundated with offers to return to the professional game, Marshall is still haunted by his spell with Norwich.
Speaking about how it ended, Marshall said: "I had six months there, then I got loaned out for the next six months and then went back in when they'd got promoted, I just (dropped) right off. Millwall was the one. My head wasn't there and I just felt for the fans because I wasn't giving it my all.
"If I could change it, then I would. I was happy to cancel my contract and go back home. Financially, I was alright."