‘I’m forever grateful to Norwich’ - Hat-trick hero Martin thankful for patience after tough start in Norfolk
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Josh Martin’s start to life as a Norwich City player has proved testing, but the former Arsenal man is hoping his FA Youth Cup hat-trick will kick start his City career.
As the winger netted City's three goals in the third-round tie against Newcastle United, it appeared as though another star had left his mark on the Carrow Road turf but Martin's progression in Norfolk has proved difficult since arriving from North London.
Martin is a regular operator in David Wright's under-23 set-up but the winger dropped down to the under-18s to compete in the FA Youth Cup as City sought to progress through to the next round.
He opened the scoring in the 4th minute before netting again after 37 minutes to restore City's advantage in the tie.
United equalised shortly after, with Kain Reed bundling a corner into the back of the net after City let it bounce in their own area.
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With 82 minutes on the clock and extra time ticking closer, Martin received the ball in the right channel before unleashing a fierce effort that curled away from goal and nestled in the top left-hand corner of the net.
The youngster described the strike that sealed a fine hat-trick as the best of his career before admitting that the start of his career with the Canaries hasn't been easy.
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"To start with, it was very difficult. When you come in, you think 'I came from Arsenal, it's Norwich' so you can feel like you're a big fish in a small pond but that gets played down really quickly," said Martin.
"That hit me the most. I know it's happened to a lot of people but I have a lot of great support around me that have drilled it into me saying to me 'Josh, it's not going to happen unless you knuckle down."
Martin had played for the Gunners since he was seven years old and joined the Canaries in March after a successful trial period at the club. Joining from a big club can place unwanted expectation onto the young shoulders of academy players but Martin insists that he didn't feel the pressure upon arriving at Colney.
"I just thought that I've got to come here and do my thing. I'm coming in as a player from Arsenal so some players will look to me.
"I struggled with performances on the pitch. I came in relaxed. I had to have a lot of people around me to sort me out which is good because I know a lot of people who would have just given up.
"I'm forever grateful for Norwich for that because it was the best thing that could have happened to me."
In tough periods, possessing a strong support network is key in an industry that can sell dreams and raise egos. The 18-year-old described why having those positive influences around a young player can help develop their game on the pitch.
"You can go from the top to the bottom in two weeks, so it's important to get the right people around you," Martin explained.
"I know there's going to be another time this season where I'm going to be feeling low and I'm going to be wishing that I could return to this night but it's all about consistency so it's difficult but you have to keep working and things will come."