Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 10:22 UK

Former NI player joins priesthood

Phillip Mulryne
From soccer luminary to clerical seminary, Phillip Mulryne changes career

A former Manchester United footballer and Northern Ireland midfielder is swapping his strip for a cassock.

Phillip Mulryne, 31, who won 27 caps for Northern Ireland, is to begin training for the priesthood.

It is understood he has been invited by the bishop of Down and Connor to enter the priesthood.

In seven years, he could be ordained as a priest for the diocese. His mother, Sally, confirmed her son's vocation to a Sunday newspaper.

She said it was a "big decision" for him but that he would be starting at the end of August.

Phillip Mulryne made his debut for Manchester Utd in 1995 after coming through the youth team.

However, he wasn't able to break into the first team and moved to Norwich City in 1999. His time there was plagued by injuries.

He later played for Cardiff City, Leyton Orient and Kings Lynn.

He wasn't available for comment on Monday as, it is understood, he is on retreat.

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