Norwich City centre spot appeals most to Russell Martin – in the long term, at least

City skipper Russell Martin has a timely chat with referee Paul Tierney during Norwich's win over Watford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images City skipper Russell Martin has a timely chat with referee Paul Tierney during Norwich's win over Watford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Friday, August 22, 2014
11:19 AM

The debate over where Russell Martin should play has run through the end of last season and into this.

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The debate over where Russell Martin should play has run through the end of last season and into this.

Since Neil Adams took charge – and then with the summer switch in squad number from two to five – it has seemed the City skipper would settle down as a centre-back.

But of course, things are rarely straightforward – so with full-back duo Martin Olsson continuing his suspension for the next two games and Javi Garrido struggling with a hamstring niggle, the knock-on effect it could be Martin’s return to right-back. If so, expect it to be temporary.

“I had a chat with the gaffer and he prefers me at centre-back,” said Martin. “I’m playing there for Scotland regularly. I spoke to (Scotland manager) Gordon Strachan in the summer and he told me he wants me playing there regularly if possible. And it was a position I was always going to settle into at some point, so why not now? I’m 28 and it’s a good chance for us to achieve something.

“The gaffer wants his captain playing in the middle of the park if possible, so I’ve been enjoying it there. It’s still a case of building a partnership but like I said, I see myself settling in there long term now and I’ve got to make sure my form is good enough to stay there and play here, and keep my place in the Scotland team as well.”

It’s been a traditional start to Championship life for the Canaries, with the games piling on top of each other – although that’s arguably less of an issue when they bring back-to-back victories. And Martin is confident that as the early-season games keep coming, Norwich will start to really hit their stride – starting of course, with Saturday’s (12.15pm) East Anglian derby at Ipswich.

“That is the beauty of this league,” added Martin. “Sometimes in the Premier League you’re waiting up to 10 days for a game and it can feels like a long, long time between games. But here they’re fast and furious, and I think most of the lads prefer it that way. Yes it’s physically a little bit tougher, but I think in general I prefer it with games coming – and the training is all about just staying on top of things and staying sharp.

“You want to be playing football out there. That’s the main reason you work so hard during the week.

The City skipper added: “We need to patient as well. That sharpness will come. It takes four or five games, any footballer will tell you, to get that bit when you feel physically right on top of your game. That will come and as it does, hopefully we’ll be even more clinical in front of goal than we have been.”

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

9 comments

  • Sorry Russell You are no centre back the goal for Wolves proved it!

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    borderman

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • VicM, I think RyanB will become a first choice. I`m told he is a bit too honest for his own good. An admirable trait that may take a bit of getting used to, in the shallow world of football.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • What is it with Ryan Bennett. Most supporters rate him as our best centre back yet Adam seems to only rate him third or fourth choice. The only thing he needs is to be selected on a regular basis..

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    VictorM

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Yes, Turner & R. Bennett @ CB. Russ at RB. Not sure about Whitts at LB - Garrido if fit? Longer term, maybe E. Bennett could be developed as a RB? Cuellar, apparently, does play at full-back, too.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Totally agree that defensively we looked much more solid after Bennett came on against Blackburn. Nothing got past him in the air and he has an attacking side as well. Given the basic long ball tactics of 1p5wich I hope we see him start there tomorrow. Clean sheet, two or three goals and top of the table at 3o'clock. OTBC

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    Winger63

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • *does NOT play centre back.

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    Daniel Smith

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Goldie, I agree we should have Bennet in the centre. However, if Martin does play centre back, I would have him as my right or wing back. Not bench warming as you put it. Martin is much better than Whittaker in that position. The man is like a horse in terms of stamina. :)

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    Daniel Smith

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • No doubt in my mind that Ryan Bennett is the best player at centre back, Garrido having to go off on Tuesday showed how much better the defence was with the new combination. Bennett was winning the ball and beating the forwards to headers from the moment he came on and he was unlucky not to score at the other end when the ball was deflected up on to the cross bar. IMO that formation should be the regular formation until the left back is sorted out with Olsson or Garrido returning to that position. Unfortunately Martin was not winning headers in front of the goal and should be bench warming so that Bennett can continue to get even better.

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    goldie

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Against Blackburn the defence looked more solid with Turner and Ryan Bennett in the centre of defence. Martin was beaten in the air far too often.

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    PhilH

    Friday, August 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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