McLeish tries to tempt Martin
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries hot-shot Chris Martin nailed his flag to the England mast despite attempts by manager Peter Grant to persuade him to follow the high road to Scotland.
Canaries hot-shot Chris Martin nailed his flag to the England mast despite attempts by manager Peter Grant to persuade him to follow the high road to Scotland.
Beccles-born Martin is eligible to play in Alex McLeish's Scotland set-up because his father, Gerald, is a Glaswegian.
But while that was music to the ears of Norwich boss Peter Grant, the former Scotland international admitted his powers of persuasion hadn't worked - and said Scotland's loss was England's gain.
“I am a very proud Scotsman, so yes, for sure I would be crazy not to have wanted Chris,” said Grant. “I didn't realise his dad was Glaswegian until I spoke to him. Then I spoke to Alex McLeish and his assistant Archie Knox about him - they didn't realise his father was Glaswegian, they thought maybe it was third generation or something like that.
“They were very, very keen to take him to the World Cup Under-20 tournament in the summer.”
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But despite the lure of such prestigious international acclaim, 18-year-old Martin made his feelings known by appearing - and scoring on his debut - for England Under-19s last Wednesday.
His call-up came on the back of a sensational start to his City career, which began with his debut at the end of January and has bagged him five goals in only a dozen stats.
Martin's decision comes, despite his best efforts, with Grant's blessing.
“As I said to Chris, I understand. He is an Englishmen and as a Scotsman the way I am, I always wanted to play for Scotland, no matter what my dad or anybody else might have been.
“I have no problem with it - I wish him all the very best and I will be a big England supporter when he is playing. I was delighted when he scored the other night because there is no better feeling than playing for your country.
“I was fortunate enough to play and captain my country at almost every level - I played for the full international side as well and that was the only team I never captained, so I was very proud to be a rampant Lion, and for him to have Three Lions on his jersey is something for him to be very proud of - his parents will be very proud of him.”