Academy midfielder aiming to be the perfect 10
- 19 March 2014 09:50
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
When City came calling, Martin Samuelsen had no hesitation in swapping rural Norway for the bustle of Manchester.
After first kicking a football with his older brother as a four-year-old, the youngster progressed through the ranks at his local club, and by the age of 14 his talent and work ethic had caught the eye of a number of top teams.
But with several sides keen to secure his signature, the youngster was quick to make his choice.
He declared: “It was an easy decision because City were the best option for me. It is a great club with great future plans, especially with the City Football Academy coming up.”
While acknowledging the move required him to adapt to a new way of life on and off the pitch, Martin refused to be intimidated and embraced the challenge of making the switch to a new country – with initially just his Dad for company.
“It’s a different world from where I come from,” he explained. “I’m from a small town in Norway, so obviously you need time to adjust to a new environment, a new school, new culture, different people to play with and a different style of playing. But I don’t think I needed any more time than others.”
He was swift to justify City’s faith, and Martin was rewarded for his strong showings with a two year scholarship, signed last July.
A special moment in any footballer’s career, he was eager to cherish it.
“It felt really good to sign the contract. Not many people get that opportunity at a club like Manchester City, and I’m very grateful for it.
“It has changed things a bit this year. It is much more professional now we are full time, it is more detailed and obviously we spend a lot more time here.”
An asset to any squad with his ability to shine in a number of positions, the 16-year-old can exploit his footballing talent on either wing or in a more central role. Close ball control and an eye for a killer pass make Martin the ideal midfield candidate, while his stamina, pace and dribbling prowess cause problems for defenders whether out wide or through the middle.
He revealed: “My favourite position and the position I have played the most is the number 10 role, but I have played a lot on the wing as well. I am just happy to play and get on the pitch.
“I often play number 11 for Norway but I sometimes go in the middle as well. I’m versatile!”
A regular name on the teamsheet for Norway under-17s, Samuelsen has played a key role in ensuring his country progress in the 2014 European Championships.
After succeeding in the initial qualifying stage, Norway have been drawn with Greece, Poland and Turkey in the Elite Round, played in early Spring, as they bid to reach the finals held in Malta in the summer.
The plethora of international experience Martin can draw on from his time in the youth ranks will no doubt stand him in good stead as he aims to make his mark in a City shirt.
He said: “I think when you play against nations like Spain, it is a different level, a higher standard. It is very good at City, but maybe the standard of the teams you face is higher. It is a different type of football here in England as well, more physical and it’s a different style of play.”
Although he is enjoying success with the national side, he admits this season has been a little disappointing from a club perspective: “It’s been ups and downs. I have done well with the national team but I haven’t played much for the under-18s. Hopefully I will get more game time as the season continues.
“My aims are to keep progressing and developing, get more minutes for City and get to the Euros with Norway.”
The youngster is unaccustomed to failure at any of his targets. The energy and commitment that are so obvious on the field are innate for Samuelsen, and after excelling in all subjects at GCSE level he has accepted the challenge of taking three A Levels during his scholarship years.
With his main focus on taking the next steps up the footballing pyramid for City and Norway, Martin is also on target for top grades in all of his exams.
“I’m doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I’m a scientist!” he smiled. “I had an interview with a guy at the Premier League, and he said he didn’t see that often, someone doing three A Levels.
“It doesn’t faze me. I’m just going to do three A Levels, I don’t care what other people do. It’s important to be able to have your thoughts on something other than football. That way, if the worst happens – maybe you get a serious injury - it isn’t the end of the world.
“But first of all I am a footballer, and I am determined to succeed.”