August 23 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Norwich City club captain Russell Martin aims to play a leading role in guiding Scotland to the European Championship finals.
Martin played the full 90 minutes in Wednesday’s impressive 1-0 friendly away win over group opponents Poland which stretched Gordan Strachan’s squad’s unbeaten run to five matches. The 28-year-old has forced his way into Strachan’s starting line-up over the past 12 months at centre back alongside Blackburn’s Grant Hanley, who missed the victory in Warsaw, but Martin is taking nothing for granted.
“I feel like I have put myself in a lot better position now with the performances I have had for the manager and we have done okay and played well,” he said. “Myself and Grant were the preferred choice for the last few games and we have kept a few clean sheets and done well. The relationship is still building and it is something I have worked extremely hard at. I had to be patient for it and it is not one I want to give up easily now, but that is the same as playing in the Premier League. The minute you stand still you get overtaken so you have to work hard, especially when my game is built on working hard. I want to keep improving and that will never change.”
Martin is unfazed by the prospect of trying to qualify from a group that includes Germany, the Poles and some familiar faces as part of the Republic of Ireland set-up.
“Wes (Hoolahan) has already said we have got no chance so we’ll see about that,” said Martin. “I am confident. It is an exciting one that is for sure. The manager came out and said it is probably a group a lot of people will take an interest in. Germany are the outstanding candidates, obviously, but who is to say we can’t get a positive result against them?
“It is going to be really interesting that fight for second and third place because one team has to miss out. The way we are progressing under Gordon Strachan I really feel we have a chance to play in a major tournament and it is one the country deserves. Now is the time for everyone to stake a claim and make sure you are in the starting XI for when some massive games come along against Germany and Ireland. It is one I want to be involved in.”