Ex-City skipper hopes to bring leadership to Walsall after victorious debut

PUBLISHED: 13:17 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:17 01 November 2018

Former Norwich City captain Russell Martin has joined League One side Walsall as a player-coach Picture: Walsall FC

Former Norwich City captain Russell Martin has joined League One side Walsall as a player-coach Picture: Walsall FC

Walsall FC

Russell Martin hopes he can bring the same leadership to Walsall that he demonstrated for such a long time at Norwich City.

The former Canaries skipper mutually agreed to end his contract early at the end of the summer transfer window as he remained out of Daniel Farke’s plans and went on to join Walsall as a player-coach until the end of the season.

Martin made his debut on Saturday and played all of a 3-2 home win over another of his former clubs, Wycombe, in League One.

“That kind of role is something I did at Norwich for however long,” the Scotland international said. “I have always been a link between the players and coaching staff.

“I like to deal with people, I am all about dealing with people and having relationships and respect and trust. If I can be that for these players, if I can be someone who they can come to and ask a question, fantastic.

“Or if on the pitch I can give a little bit of help and information.

“I’ve seen a few things I think I can really help a few people with already. To help them improve as players which will help this club improve as well.”

The 32-year-old spent the second half of last season playing in front of crowds of more than 35,000 at Ibrox last season, making 17 appearances for Scottish Premiership giants Rangers.

However the defender, who made 309 appearances for Norwich between 2009 and 2017, linked up with the Saddlers as he knew manager Dean Keates from their time playing together at Peterborough.

“A big factor in me joining was the relationship with the manager,” Martin added, speaking to the Express & Star. “I played with him a long time ago, I got on well with him and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.

“I share the same values as him, in terms of professionalism and what he expects from people. I left Norwich a while ago now and it was a case of assessing what I wanted to do next. I have got a young family, that comes into it as well.

“I could have travelled a long way and just concentrated on playing. And financially it would have been much better for me and my family. But it’s not about that now. It’s about being part of something I actually believe in and want to be a part of – with someone I like and someone I trust.”

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