Solskj�r gave Keane the nod on Lee

NEW signing Lee Martin may be known as a winger - but he could yet be the man charged with firing Ipswich Town back into the Premier League.

Stuart Watson

NEW signing Lee Martin may be known as a winger - but he could yet be the man charged with firing Ipswich Town back into the Premier League.

The 22-year-old put pen to paper on a four year deal at Portman Road yesterday after Ipswich agreed an undisclosed fee with Manchester United.

Throughout his career - which has seen him make just three appearances for United amongst six different loans spells away from Old Trafford - Martin has primarily been used down the left wing.

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However, under the tutelage of the Red Devils' legendary striker Ole Gunnar Solskj�r, Martin - who primarily is right-footed, but is comfortable with both feet - reinvented himself at the back end of last season.

With Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck both featuring in the United first team squad on a regular basis, Martin was moved up front for the club's reserves where he scored five goals in quick succession.

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As a result, he 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.

Martin said: “The manager (Roy Keane) has spoken to Ole Gunnar Solskj�r who has been working with me for the last six months and he has pointed out my best position.”

Due to his end of season form, Martin has been tracked by a host of Championship clubs, including Bristol City, but he 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 added: “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.”

Martin's arrival came on the same day that his previous employers announced the arrival of new �16m winger Antonia Valencia, while Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational �80 departure from the reigning Premier League champions was confirmed with a packed unveiling at Real Madrid.

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.”

- Lee Martin has not travelled with the Ipswich squad that will face Irish side Finn Harps in their first pre-season friendly tonight having only arrived yesterday. Another player that hasn't travelled is striker Pablo Counago, who has a groin strain.

- 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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