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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Hitting the right notes
Great Britain and Warrington centre Martin Gleeson is a man of many talents.

Martin Gleeson
Gleeson loves nothing more than strumming his guitar in his spare time

As well as being a gifted ball-player with devastating pace and an eye for the tryline, the Wigan-born 26-year-old is also a talented guitar and harmonica player.

He started getting serious about music during a four-month ban from the game for breaking rugby league betting rules while with St Helens.

Here, Warrington's record signing tells BBC Sport about his musical tastes and the perils of sporting injuries.

I've been a music fan for ages and learning to play the guitar was something that was always at the back of my mind.

I got one for a Christmas present about six years ago but I thought it was too difficult to play. I couldn't even manage a chord so I just gave up.

Toa Kohe Love is very good... he's been playing for quite a while

One of my friends plays in a band in Wigan, so a couple of years later when I was banned I thought I would try again. This time I loved it.

My teacher, Les Hilton, is a wizard on the guitar and he plays a lot of blues and folk stuff which I really like.

I go to his house once a week and jam with him. If there is something I want to learn, I'll get him to listen to it and then he'll play it and teach it to me.

Music helps me to chill out. Most people might only play once or twice a week, but I play every day because I don't have a family and it stops me getting bored!

I've tried to do a bit of song writing but I think you've got to be very creative to do that. That's something I would like to do if I could.

I'm also trying to learn the piano. I've had a few lessons, but I'm waiting until I move to a new house to get one and do it properly.

Bob Dylan
Dylan's music has inspired millions of people around the world

I'm a big Bob Dylan fan and listening to his early stuff was what really inspired me to start playing. I started the harmonica soon after which Les also teaches me.

I like Dylan's music - albums like 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan', 'Blood on the Tracks' and 'Desire'. The lyrics are amazing.

I've been lucky enough to see him live in concert twice - once in Sheffield and then at the MEN Arena in Manchester a couple of years ago.

Although it was great to see him, I wanted him to play more of his older acoustic music but he did a lot of newer stuff, which is more rock and roll.

I play a lot of Oasis stuff, which goes down well at parties, and since the film 'Walk the Line', I've got into Johnny Cash.

I also like the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Van Morrison as well as more modern things like Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Jack Johnson.

I'm also hoping to see Billy Joel in concert in Manchester later this month. I missed going to see the Eagles a couple of weeks ago because it clashed with the Test against New Zealand.

There are a few of us at Warrington who play guitars, so we exchange songs and get together after a game.

If I get the call for this year's Tri-Nations, the guitar case will definitely be there with my training kit

Toa Kohe Love is very good. He's been playing for quite a while. Ben Westwood and Jon Clarke also play a bit.

We also take our guitars on training camps with Great Britain before international games for something to do.

If I get the call for the Tri-Nations at the end of the year, the guitar will definitely be there with my training kit and boots.

Andy Farrell taught me some songs a few years ago, but I had only just started playing at that stage.

Last year, Adrian Morley wanted me to teach him some Dylan stuff but he hurt his finger in one of the GB games and couldn't bend it so he couldn't play. He was gutted.

But I broke two fingers in a game recently which means I can't play the guitar at the moment. It is doing my head in!

Interview by Elizabeth Hudson

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