Norwich City defender Russell Martin can be a great Scot
Paul Lambert is convinced Russell Martin can be a major asset for club and country after his recall to the Scotland international set-up.
Martin has been drafted into Craig Levein's squad for the upcoming friendly against Cyprus, having played no part in Scotland's Euro2012 qualifying campaign following his initial Carling Nations Cup bow.
Lambert the player operated with distinction for the Scots. Lambert the manager recognises Martin's form for the Canaries in an unaccustomed centre back role against the Premier League's best deserves recognition.
'I think it is great about Russell. He is playing terrifically well as a centre back and he deserved another opportunity to get called up,' said Lambert. 'He only played about three seconds in his first cap and then he never got picked again. That is Craig's prerogative to pick who he wants to pick, but the way he is performing at the minute he certainly deserves to be given another chance.
'One thing about him he is an absolutely fantastic professional off the pitch and on it tends to do the right things. His performances have been really high. That is the pleasing thing. Would he let Scotland down? No, he wouldn't. He has come up against some world class strikers and coped really, really well. I wouldn't have one fear about him playing for the national team.'
Lambert would also endorse an England call for midfielder Bradley Johnson. The combative former Leeds man was reportedly included in Fabio Capello's provisional plans for the recent Euro2012 qualifier in Montengero. The City chief believes Johnson would let no-one down if he gets the call tomorrow when Capello is scheduled to announce his squad for the upcoming friendlies against World Champions Spain and Sweden.
'Unless somebody phones me, I don't bother about it and I don't lose sleep over it,' said Lambert. 'I think he has got a chance and it's great that they are even being spoken about it at that level. Rightly so. Why not? Because these players are holding their own and playing well and mixing it with the best.
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'They are not intimidated by it. If you are talking about (Frank) Lampard and (Steven) Gerrard and people like that then you are up against top, top players who have been established in that environment for a long time. Jonno has been brilliant for us and when you consider where he has came from as well. He is certainly not intimidated by it and he is quite rightly being linked by the way he has been playing.'
Lambert is delighted City's players continue to pick up individual accolades – with Steve Morison, Andrew Crofts and Simeon Jackson all called up for their countries again yesterday as well – but the team ethic reigns supreme.
'Any successful team that I have seen or been involved in, it was about the team,' he said. 'You might have somebody who can make a little bit of a difference but they will be only as good as the one next to them. I'm pretty sure if you asked Wes (Hoolahan) or somebody like that, then someone has to go and win the ball for him and get it to him.'