Josh Martin says he is learning a lot at MK Dons - not just a new position, but also the harsh realities of first team football
The 20-year-old has made just eight appearances this season, but it has been nearly two months since his last outing for the club in League One - the 1-1 draw with Cheltenham on September 8.
Signed by former Dons boss, and Norwich legend Russell Martin, the young winger was tipped for big things at Carrow Road but has struggled to make a significant impact since the arrival of Liam Manning as head coach.
This, though, is not down to the man in charge but the position he is being asked to play. Naturally a winger or deployed through the middle, Martin said he is adapting to the wing-back position as well as the realities of first team football.
“I’m learning football is not an easy game - it’s not all highs,” he admitted. “You have to learn in the game, and I’m definitely doing that. I’ll become a better player off and on the pitch, and I’m learning a different side of the game which, for me, is only going to help me develop.
“It's a new position for me, but I feel like I'm enjoying it there, I can play well there. Hopefully I'll get more minutes and a few more games.
“It's completely different compared to playing on the wing or in the hole, but it allows me to use my attributes and helps me learn the other side of the game. It's something I want to do, something I want to develop. I think the position is good, I like it and I hope I can play more there.”
That right wing-back spot though is hotly contested, with Peter Kioso, on loan from Luton, currently occupying that role while Tennai Watson has been in and out of the side there too. For Martin, who is still learning the defensive side of the game, he finds himself down the pecking order.
However, after enjoying promotion with Norwich last season as they returned to the Premier League, Martin knows competition for places will benefit the team by encouraging individual players to raise their games.
He said: “It's massive to a championship-winning team - everyone pushing everyone. I can say it from experience, when everyone is firing on all cylinders, you don't want the person behind you taking your position so you work even harder.
“Hopefully, I’m working hard in training and I hope I can get more minutes and help the team in the league. My main goal is to be starting every week, and I’ll work my hardest I can to get there, helping scoring goals and assists.”