Grant backing teenage sensation
Norwich boss Peter Grant is backing Chris Martin to handle the spotlight as the teenage sensation prepares to spearhead the Canaries' attack in their Championship test at Barnsley.
Norwich boss Peter Grant is backing Chris Martin to handle the spotlight as the teenage sensation prepares to spearhead the Canaries' attack in today's Championship test at Barnsley.
The academy striker's meteoric rise continued with a first senior league goal salvaging a point against Coventry before his predatory effort sparked City's midweek comeback win at Luton.
Martin is primed for his fourth consecutive start at Oakwell with major injury doubts over front trio Darren Huckerby, Peter Thorne and Dion Dublin.
Raw boned target man Chris Brown is sidelined for at least a fortnight with a niggling hamstring problem.
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The Beccles teenager's fearless displays have helped him gatecrash Grant's first team squad but the Canaries' chief is quick to issue a cautionary warning to his young starlet.
“The British mentality is always to build someone up and then look to kick them up the backside,” said Grant. “That amazes me. Ryan Jarvis was being hammered by everybody and suddenly he is king of the castle. Just because he's scored five goals at Leyton Orient does not mean Ryan is now world class.
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“I'm there to help the players but I'm the manager - not their father. They'll make mistakes just as I do but Chrissy deserves to be in the side. It doesn't matter who comes back in or who is fit. He'll have his down times in the future and that wee bit of bad luck when things don't quite go for him. That always happens but football is about enjoyment and he is enjoying things at this moment in time.”
Martin's instant impact is no surprise to the man who gave him his big break.
“No, he hasn't exceeded what I expect of him - not at all,” said Grant. “When I first came in I looked at him in the youth team and felt he had something. I decided as soon the FA Youth Cup run was over he'd be with us everyday. The same applied to Robert Eagle. He's been in and out recently but that's not down to his performances - I just felt we needed to change things around a little to get it going.
“Chris is a good lad who just loves the game. He enjoys his work and that is important because being a professional footballer is the best job in the world. Nothing else even comes close. He has shown that enthusiasm and I think you can sense already the other players respect him - even though he's such a young man. Respect goes a long way in football.”
Grant insists Martin's exciting arrival on the big stage offers an exciting glimpse into the future.
“He's got this arrogance and belief in his own ability but he also knows there's so much improvement in him,” said Grant. “He's getting better all the time. At Luton it wasn't just his goal, there was his general play, his touch and awareness of other players around him.
“I want Chrissy to look at other parts of the game, like when we're defending. He needs to think like a defender, not just a striker, so when we win the ball back he's alive and in the right positions.”