Martin: My respect for the boss

IPSWICH Town signed winger Lee Martin from Manchester United yesterday as manager Roy Keane continues to mould a squad which he feels can propel the club back into the Premier League.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH Town signed winger Lee Martin from Manchester United yesterday as manager Roy Keane continues to mould a squad which he feels can propel the club back into the Premier League.

The 22-year-old - a left-sided winger who is equally comfortable with both feet - has signed for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal.

“I'm absolutely delighted to be here,” said Martin, who has been forced into moving on after failing to regularly break into the first team set-up during his five-year stay at Old Trafford.


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“It was important that I came to an ambitious club that wanted to go places. I spoke to the manager (Roy Keane) and he said all the right things.

“It's important for me to be playing regular first team football and hopefully I can play my part in helping Ipswich get back into the Premier League.”

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Martin made his first and only Premier League start for Manchester United against Hull in May as Sir Alex Ferguson rested many of his stars ahead of the Champions League final on the last day of the season.

Since then he has been tracked by a host of Championship clubs, including Bristol City, but Martin admits that Keane was the biggest factor in his decision to come to Portman Road.

He said: “I was a young lad (at Manchester United) developing and the manager (Keane) was probably the biggest player in the team then. I didn't get chance to meet him as much as I'd have liked, but he did come and coach the reserves from time to time.

“Obviously I've got a massive amount of respect for him as a player and as a manager. I've wanted to work under him ever since he moved into management.”

Speaking of his latest acquisition, Keane said: “Lee was a young lad at Manchester United when I was there and he showed a lot of promise. He's ambitious and wants to get back to the top level and I'm delighted he wants to do that with Ipswich Town.”

Martin - who has had spells on loan at Royal Antwerp, Rangers, Stoke, Plymouth, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest - added: “I'm confident I can do well in the Championship. Some of my loans haven't worked out for me but that's in the past now.

“I'm obviously sad to be leaving a club like Manchester United but I know how ambitious the manager is here and I'm delighted to be part of his plans for the future.”

Town chief executive Simon Clegg said: “We think that Lee's got massive potential and that is reflected in the length of the contract we have given him.

“I've no doubt that he will prove a major force and will bring huge strength to the team as we enter these exciting times for the club.”

Born in Somerset, Martin started as a trainee at Wimbledon before Manchester United moved to sign him as a teenager in 2003.

He has regularly impressed in the youth and reserves teams at Old Trafford over the years but, despite often featuring in pre-season tours, has never really been able to establish himself in the first team squad.

As a result, Martin has spent the majority of his career to date out on loan. In 2005/2006 he impressed at United's Belgian feeder club Royal Antwerp for the second half of the season.

The following campaign saw him spend the first half of the season at Scottish giants Rangers and the second half of the season at Stoke City.

In 2007/8, Martin heavily featured in United's pre-season tour, he was an unused substitute for the Community Shield against Chelsea and played as his side were knocked out of the League Cup by Coventry.

He then went on to spend three months prior to Christmas on loan at Plymouth Argyle and saw out the remainder of the season at Sheffield United.

Martin spent the first half of last season at Nottingham Forest. Upon his return to Old Trafford he was used as a makeshift striker in the reserve team and scored five goals under the tutelage of Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskj�r.

- Former Town defender Fabian Wilnis has confirmed that his former team-mate and fellow Dutchman Martijn Reuser has been given permission to play at his testimonial with Colchester United at Portman Road on Saturday, July 25.

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