England call-up for City sensation
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries teen sensation Chris Martin has been rewarded for his remarkable introduction to first team football with his first ever England call-up.
Canaries teen sensation Chris Martin has been rewarded for his remarkable introduction to first team football with his first ever England call-up.
Martin spent his first full day with the England Under-19 squad yesterday as they prepare for a friendly against Turkey at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.
The 18-year-old from Beccles has earned his place in coach Brian Eastick's 18-strong squad - alongside another City youngster, Rossi Jarvis - after a sensational start to the year for Peter Grant's Canaries which has seen him score five goals in just a dozen appearances.
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His latest contribution to the City cause was the back-heel which set up Darren Huckerby for the only goal of the game against Stoke at Carrow Road on Saturday - further signs that their partnership is growing stronger by the week.
Martin's name had not been included in the original squad named at the end of February, but his explosive introduction to Championship life proved difficult to ignore - and saw City's Academy chief Ricky Martin finally get his man into the international set-up.
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"We got a call last week from the FA indicating that they would like to call him up," said the Academy man. "The FA take recommendations from clubs and we have put Chris up in previous years and they have been monitoring him.
"He has been put up along with Rossi Jarvis for the last couple of seasons - as head of the Academy I get the opportunity to recommend players and they take a decision to monitor their progress.
"The England coaches have obviously read the reports and seen all the headlines of Chris' games."
The player has slipped through the England net to some extent, with the majority of players coming up through the ranks from under-16 level.
"Teams are usually gelled together from the 16 and 17 years age groups and they try and work with the same squad," said Ricky Martin. "But the FA monitors other players as soon as they get into their club first teams. Youngsters breaking into their teams in the lower leagues will be looked at and, obviously if you are playing in the Championship you stand a good chance."
The player travelled up to the Doncaster area after Saturday's game and was due to take part in cooling down exercises yesterday, with his former mentor confident the striker would settle in easily.
"We have all seen him in action, nothing fazes him and to deal with other 18-year-olds won't be a big transition for him," he said. "He is able to deal with playing alongside the likes of Darren Huckerby and Dion Dublin and he will know a lot of the other lads anyway, from his time playing in the Academy."
Although the Canaries are on a two-week break because of the senior England team's Euro qualifying commitments, Martin will be back at Carrow Road on Friday for the Academy's fund-raising game against their Celtic counterparts.
"He is a guest for that game and I will be keen to tell Chris to savour every minute, enjoy every bit of it," said Martin. "This is a feather in his cap and a feather in the cap of the whole club, whether it is the Academy or the professional staff, everyone takles the credit."