Russell Martin says he relishes having the opportunity to offer guidance to his younger teammates at MK Dons and believes some of them have the chance to have successful careers in the game.
With 580 career appearances to his name, Martin has a wealth of experience on offer for the younger crop of players at Stadium MK and the former Scotland international is more than eager to provide that support.
“It’s a role that I’ve done for a number of years,” he told Red Dot in an exclusive interview which can be read in Saturday’s edition of the matchday programme.
“I love helping younger players develop. We’ve got a good group of young players who, I believe, can go on to have really good careers, the likes of Callum Brittain, David Kasumu, Sam Nombe and others like Jordan Houghton and Conor McGrandles. If I can play a part in that, helping the Club at the same time, that would be great.
“Our experienced players are always looking out for the younger ones. Someone like Ryan Harley, who people probably don’t immediately think of because he’s quiet, is superb with the younger players. The manager does really well to utilise that too.”
Martin’s work with the younger generation extends off the pitch as well, with the 33-year-old the founder of The Russell Martin Foundation - a non-profit organisation based in Brighton & Hove which aims to use the power of football to help change people’s lives in the city he was born.
“We cater for all abilities from 5-19, with a football education programme running from the ages of 16-19. We have the health and education side too, and I do talks at our alternative provision programme for kids who are struggling in mainstream school. We have a programme that allows them to come to us in a 12-week cycle to get ready to reintegrate back into their state schools.
“It does really well and we have a pathway all the way through for players. We’ve managed to get a number of players into professional clubs. We currently have players at Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic and Fulham.
“I’m really proud of it. It’s not something that takes up a lot of my time as the people running the foundation are more than capable of doing so, but I’ll help make decisions. It’s well worth it when you see the difference it makes to people.”
Read the full interview with Russell Martin in Saturday's edition of Red Dot - MK Dons' 68-page matchday programme, which will be available from sellers around Stadium MK and the Box Office at a price of just £3.