Russell Martin vows to win back his Scotland squad place
Norwich defender Russell Martin is confident featuring against the best in the world on the Premier League stage can only help his international ambitions.
Martin was omitted from the latest Scotland squad named for next week's friendly against Denmark after making his senior debut in this summer's Carling Nations Cup tournament.
The reliable right-back made a late substitute appearance in a 3-1 win over Wales in Dublin, and the 25-year-old believes Norwich's elevation offers the perfect platform to force his way into Craig Levein's long term plans.
'I was disappointed when the squad was announced not to be in it,' he admitted. 'But (Alan) Hutton has proved himself at that level and obviously (Steven) Whittaker has been playing for the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll play some games down here and do alright and force my way back into it.
'Every week is going to be tough, but coming up against people like (Gareth) Bale and (Ryan) Giggs is the reason why you play football. It's going to be a test when you come up against the best players in the world week in, week out.'
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Martin insists Paul Lambert's squad will relish the seismic leap from the Football League.
'It's hard to describe – it is so close and it is so exciting,' he said. 'You have to go and enjoy it but we want to do that by doing the right things. That means carrying on winning games.
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'It's the mentality the gaffer has and the mentality the boys have as well. There is no fear or trepidation about the squad. We want to prove ourselves and every player has something to prove. That is why we have got success these last two years and hopefully we can do the same.
'He has said we have worked so hard to get here, just carry on doing the things that got you success and I'm sure you'll be fine. He believes in us as players and he has gone and signed a few more that have added to the squad and I think we are stronger now than ever.
'The gaffer will go up there and play the way he wants to do it. Nothing will change in that sense and hopefully it is enough.'
Martin accepts competition for places to catch Lambert's eye is now fierce ahead of the Premier League kick-off at Wigan on August 13.
'I think you have at least two players for every position and it is something that just keeps you on your toes,' he said. 'The boys are hungry, everyone wants to go and prove themselves in this league. If you've got someone pushing you and you don't do the job you know someone is ready to step in. I think you need that at every club.
All the top clubs have got that. We probably didn't have that depth last year but people filled in when they had to and did a great job. Now you've got two and sometimes three people in every position who you know are ready to go and play.
'It hasn't felt like we have had seven new players all of a sudden. They have fitted in really well. They are a good bunch of lads and a lot are of a similar age group. The team spirit is as strong as ever and that is one of the things that has kept us going so well for the past two years and has played a major part in our success and we hope it will continue.'
Martin believes Real Zaragoza's feisty midweek friendly visit to Carrow Road along with Saturday's pre-season finale against Parma is ideal preparation for what lies ahead.
'Physically, it was probably similar to what we are going to face this year. It was a tough test. We got a lot out of it,' he said. 'There was a couple of little knocks, nothing serious, and that is the main thing. Everyone is fit and looking forward to another tough one. They are tough opposition and you could see why they are where they are, but credit to ourselves we played well. We just couldn't get a second goal and perhaps we conceded a bit of a sloppy goal, but I think there were plenty of positives.
'It's still about fitness at this stage and we'll take it from there. It was competitive, but that is great. They are on tour in England and they don't want to get beat easily.
'The foreign teams are maybe a little bit cuter with stuff off the ball and it was up to us to deal with that. At times it got a bit heated but you don't want it to boil over in these games and, like I say, I thought the lads played some good stuff at times.'