Martin to fight for Canaries career

Matthew Chambers Norwich City striker Chris Martin is ready to put his troubles behind him and finally fulfil his undoubted potential. Martin was just 18 when he burst on to the scene in yellow and green, scoring five times in seven matches for City in early 2007.

Matthew Chambers

Norwich City striker Chris Martin is ready to put his troubles behind him and finally fulfil his undoubted potential.

Martin was just 18 when he burst on to the scene in yellow and green, scoring five times in seven matches for City in early 2007. He also scored on his debut for England Under-19s, when he came on as a late substitute in a 1-0 victory against Turkey in March of that year.

Sadly, since then his stock has been very much on the slide.

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Martin received stinging criticism more than once last season from manager Glenn Roeder, who said that he'd “had it too easy”, while the teenager has also been banned from nearly every pub in Waveney after complaints about his behaviour.

But now, according to his agent, Phil Sproson of the PFA, Martin is determined to prove he's turned over a new leaf by winning his place back in the Canaries' first team next season.

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“Chris is not the most talkative person in the world and that might sometimes come across as though he's aloof and as if he thinks he's a bit big time, but that couldn't be further from the truth,” said Sproson, a former professional with Port Vale.

“He's a nice lad, a bit shy, from a good family and I'm sure that they are mortified that he's been dragged into trouble. He's the sort of person who would be more led into these things rather than instigate them.”

It's also emerged that Martin was given a caution by police for common assault outside a Beccles pub.

Sproson added: “It's been a painful lesson for him and an embarrassment but he's learned from it. I bet he's taken a load of stick from his mates and now can't go for a drink with them. Now he's just desperate to wipe the slate clean.”

Roeder has only two strikers, currently on professional terms, who have had a taste of action in the Championship in Jamie Cureton and 19-year-old Martin, and Sproson says his client is desperate to hit the ground running in pre-season training and show the City boss what he's really made of.

“It's a bit of a wake-up call for him and the kick up the backside that he probably needs. He's that kind of personality. I don't disagree with what Roeder has said. He's managed at big clubs before and he's managed young players and knows what's needed to get the best out of them. Chris has got to do a lot better, it's as simple as that,” said Sproson.

Martin made only 10 appearances last season, in which he failed to score or make any real impression, and he was frozen out of the side under Roeder. His last senior appearance came at home to Bury in the FA Cup in January, when he was substituted at half-time.

“I think last season Chris found playing a lot harder than he thought it would be,” added Sproson. “He took off when he first got his chance but since then he's struggled. Peter Grant certainly fancied him as a player but he was in a side that was so poor he found it hard to sparkle.

“He was stuck in a rut of also-ran performances. He's a young person and a young player and he looks to be led by the more senior players. That was not happening last season.

“Players like Newcastle's James Milner, who we also represent, have the fire in the belly themselves, they don't need to be told what's expected and that's why he's in the Premiership.

“Chris certainly has the ability and potential, it's just a case of unlocking that. He needs to be shown the right path, cajoled, and I'm sure he'll come good.

“He's a hell of a talent and that fire just needs to be re-lighted. He's perhaps been allowed to go into automatic and he needs to be shown what's expected, a clear path forward.”

Sproson revealed that three clubs, Huddersfield, Yeovil and Gillingham, had been chasing the young hot-shot's signature before the loan window expired in March, but it's at Norwich that Martin is desperate to succeed.

“All Chris wants to do is play for Norwich City. He loves the club and has never had a bad word to say about the place or the people. He's never said he wants away from the club like some other players might have done. Some Premiership players want to move at the first sign of trouble but he's not like that,” said Sproson.

“I think that he's learned from what has happened and he's eager to repay the faith that has already been shown in him. We were very close to completing a loan deal for him in March but the deal didn't quite tick all the boxes for Norwich.

“It might have been good for him to have gone out on loan to get some matches. But it's got to be right for Chris and Norwich City. It's perhaps something that we might look at again. But at the moment he's totally focused on impressing in pre-season.

“I've told him to go out and score goals in pre-season, win his place for Saturdays and then keep scoring and then Glenn Roeder can't leave him out of the team.

“He needs to find that belief again but he also needs the trust and belief of the manager and I just hope that Glenn Roeder gives him his chance.”

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