Lee wants to gift wrap a goal

LEE Martin is looking to hand out a couple of early birthday presents when he makes his Ipswich Town league debut on Sunday.

Derek Davis

LEE Martin is looking to hand out a couple of early birthday presents when he makes his Ipswich Town league debut on Sunday.

The �1.5million signing from Manchester United is hoping to make his mother and boss Roy Keane happy with a goal at Coventry City, in the Blues' Championship season opener.

Keane will be 38 on Monday, while Martin's mother celebrates her birthday on Tuesday, and while the attacking midfielder is looking to keep both happy, there is no doubt who he will be thinking of should he score.


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Martin said: “I'm no creep and my mum's birthday is the day after the gaffer's, so that is the more important one for me, but I hope do something for both.”

The 22-year-old was brought in by Keane last month after the pair had been at the opposite end of the spectrum at Old Trafford.

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Martin said: “I had been around the place a couple of years before he left and we trained together at times. I was around the complex, in and around the first team with Roy, sorry, the gaffer, but I was quite a shy lad who tended to just go about my business.

“I'm flattered that he obviously took note of me when I was younger and has brought me here now.”

Although Martin made his debut for United against Barnet in the League Cup in 2005, and his first Premier League appearance against Hull City last May, most of his spell with Alex Ferguson's club was spent out on loan.

A five-month spell at Royal Antwerp was enough to win him the Fans' Player of the Year award there, and that was followed by stints at Stoke City, Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest, with varying degrees of success.

Martin said: “I know what is needed in this league and while things may not have always worked out for me out on loan, it has made me even more determined to do well.”

That experience has also made him appreciate the security of a four-year deal he has signed with Ipswich Town and he has quickly assimilated into the club and East Anglia.

He said: “It makes a massive difference to me now to be able to settle down. As a youngster you get thrown out to clubs here, there and everywhere and it is not easy.

“I would not have changed that experience for anything. I enjoyed my time elsewhere because I'm sure that is going to help me this season and for the rest of my career.

“The boys have been brilliant and I'm up and running in my apartment now so I feel really settled already.

“Because everything is so professional down here in terms of the training and facilities it is an easy transition.”

While the former Wimbledon youngster is looking forward to the new challenge with the lues he recognises what his time at Old Trafford has done for him.

He said: “I realised at quite a young age that I would need to get out and play regular football. I don't have any regrets about being at Manchester United, but now I just look to the future.

“I made my Premier League debut for Manchester United and not many people can say they have that on their CV.

“I will remember that and I had a brilliant education there. I learnt a lot about myself and being four hours away from my family was not easy and I would not have changed it for the world, but I'm looking forward to the future with Ipswich now.”

It allows Martin to offer a brief insight in his new boss' own influences with Keane playing under Sir Alex and Brian Clough.

He said: “You can't really compare two individuals (Keane and Ferguson). The gaffer is his own man and knows what he wants and it is in his personally to want to win things.

“He has worked with the best and will no doubt take snippets from both and add them to what his beliefs are and benefit from those experiences.”

After scoring at Brentford in his first Blues outing, Martin has impressed with his energetic displays and has swiftly recovered from the slight setback of a strained hamstring to look forward to the new campaign.

Martin said: “The pre-season will stand us in good stead for the long haul. It has been good and I have quite enjoyed it even though it has been tough.

“Overall performance wise we are generally happy. The main thing is that we are looking good as a team and the team ethic is there, which will be important over a 46-game season.

“This is an ambitious club and the boys are confident, but we will keep our predictions to ourselves just now.”

Martin is expected to make his Blues debut at the Ricoh Stadium on Sunday in a 12.45pm kick-off.

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