Chris Martin is savouring the Premier League
Striker Chris Martin is savouring every minute of life in the Premier League with Norwich City – after missing out on so much of the club’s promotion crusade.
Martin admits to having felt a bit detached from the Canaries’ end-of-season celebrations because of the injury that sidelined him for nearly three months from mid-February.
The 21-year-old did not appear in the final 15 games of the Championship campaign as City claimed runners-up spot, though he shrugged off a hamstring problem to at least earn a place on the bench for the last three matches.
Now, however, Martin is very much centre stage again after manager Paul Lambert named him in his starting eleven for the games against Stoke City and Chelsea, and he hopes to keep his place against West Bromwich Albion at Carrow Road on Sunday (1.30pm).
“I’m enjoying it massively. I was slightly surprised to start against Stoke but I feel I did well enough and played against Chelsea as well, so I’m buzzing.”
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Martin scored four times in key Championship matches last season before his injury paved the way for Canadian international Simeon Jackson to steal his thunder with nine goals in seven games towards the end of the campaign he said.
“It was frustrating because I contributed before that then had three months where I felt I wasn’t really part of it, which is a funny feeling because I know I was part of it and I can look back and say I played a lot of games last season, but it was just slightly frustrating that I wasn’t able to finish the season,” he said.
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“My hamstring decided to ping in training so there wasn’t a great deal I could do about it. It left a little bit of a bitter taste the fact I wasn’t able to play the last few games but I was as happy as anyone in the whole squad to see us getting promoted and to see whoever it was scoring the goals, or playing the games.
“I was just happy that Norwich City got promoted in the end, so although it wasn’t personal pride in being in the team, it was just a good feeling to see the lads doing very well and getting the team promoted.”
Jackson’s resurgence plus the arrival during the summer of strikers James Vaughan, from Everton, and Steve Morison, from Millwall, might have been seen to have limited Martin’s opportunities this season but he does not fear the competition.
He said: “I’m not really worried about it. If you look back over the seasons I’ve played for Norwich I think I’ve always had a lot of competition and people have maybe not seen me as first choice. Who knows? But I back myself to perform and to play well enough to get into the team and I think every single other player needs to do that.
“You can’t really worry about competition. There’s competition in every single team and every single squad across the whole of the football world, so you have to deal with it. It’s about being confident and backing yourself to be the one that gets in the team.
“The competition is very big when you see the list of strikers at the club and we’re all competing for perhaps two, maybe one place – maybe even three places depending what formation we play. But we’re versatile as well. Every single striker is different from the next one. It gives me confidence to be picked like any other player playing in the Premier League, but it’s not enough just to be picked. Personally I want to be scoring goals and the team wants to be winning games. And I’m sure that will come pretty soon.”
Martin sees a certain contradiction in the fact that the game is faster at the top level – yet offers him the chance to express himself.
“It’s hard to put your finger on what the difference is but I think everyone is more athletic. It’s played at a quicker tempo, but funnily enough you also get more time on the ball as well sometimes because the teams tend to sit off you, especially in your third and the middle third of the pitch,” he said.