Martin wants to be new Bellamy

CHRIS LAKEY Teenage star Chris Martin says he wants to match the success of boyhood hero Craig Bellamy, who rose from the Carrow Road Academy ranks to be one of British football's biggest stars.


Teenage star Chris Martin says he wants to match the success of boyhood hero Craig Bellamy, who rose from the Carrow Road Academy ranks to be one of British football's biggest stars.

The 18-year-old from Beccles has followed City since he was a boy, following the fortunes of Bellamy and Chris Sutton, both masters in the art of goal scoring.

And now he looks like being the latest player off the Colney production line, after his goal scoring exploits of recent weeks.

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Martin - introduced to first team football less than a month ago - sees Bellamy as the on-field role model.

“It's his pace - he is direct and he is a great goal scorer,” said Martin. “I would like to emulate the success he had at the club obviously.”

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Bellamy off-field antics have earned him the wrong sort of headlines, but even at the tender age of 18, Martin is mature enough to know the pitfalls that may await.

“The less said about that the better really,” was his appraisal of Bellamy and the tabloids.

What they do share, apart from the knack of scoring goals, is an arrogance that sets great players apart from the rest - an attribute says the City youngster.

“I think it is good to have,” he said. “I think I play with a certain confidence and I think that helps me to play well. I think it is more of an advantage to think you can be the best on the pitch and if you get out there to prove that there is no reason not to have it.”

Martin's last game for City's Academy side was the FA Youth Cup tie at Newcastle on January 10 - after which manager Peter Grant took hold of him and made him alongside his first team squad.

He brought him on as a sub against Wolves at the end of January, and again against Leeds, but it was the glamour of the FA Cup which brought him his first goal, the winner in the FA Cup fourth round replay at home to Blackpool - and a late Saturday afternoon appearance against Chelsea's champions at Stamford Bridge.

Martin's first league start came in the midweek defeat at Preston, his second, and his first league goal, against Coventry on Saturday.

It's been a whirlwind start to the year, but clearly none of it has gone to Martin's head - he's faced the media twice since his debut and each time left with nods of approval.

Perhaps his ease is down to his fellow players, particularly Dion Dublin, who realise the talent he has.

“He has been a great help,” said Martin. “He is a help with all the lads and is full of advice for everyone.

“They all keep encouraging me and are only happy to see me do well. I am learning loads every day and every single game I play and hopefully I just keep taking advice from the older professionals and they can keep helping me to improve.

“I think I have to get my head down and keep working hard. I just want to enjoy my time here and play to the best of my ability.

“I think we have a great academy here, we have good coaches to help nurture the talent through and obviously the manager is happy to give the youngsters a chance as well, which helps.”

That chance will likely come again tomorrow night when City travel to Luton, but Martin insists the team can move away from the danger zone at the bottom of the Championship.

“I think we have the players to get ourselves out of the relegation dogfight,” he said. “Hopefully with the games to come we can get the wins under our belts. I think we can look to win both our games. We are capable of winning, we have got the squad to do that.”

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