Carlton Morris has told The Athletic that he couldn’t afford to pass up the opportunity to work under former teammate Russell Martin at MK Dons.
Back in January, Morris made the 'eyebrow-raising' decision to cut short his loan spell at promotion-chasing Rotherham United in order to spend the second half of the campaign with battling MK Dons at the opposite end of the table.
The Norwich City man speaks fondly of his time in South Yorkshire but believes he made the right call to move to Stadium MK and work under his ex-Canaries compatriot Martin.
“As soon as Russell Martin got the job at MK Dons, it was hard not to have half an eye on it,” Morris told The Athletic in an wide-ranging interview which covers the 24-year-old’s career to date.
“As team-mates, we were close. You don’t know how many times you’ll get to play under someone you really admired as a player, that you played alongside a few times and trained with regularly.
“I loved my time [at Rotherham]. Paul [Warne] and his staff were excellent with me and I’m hoping they get promoted — I told them they would when I left.
“I don’t regret leaving Rotherham because, from the start, I’ve loved every minute [at MK Dons]. I know that’s quite a cliched thing to say but it’s true - I’m enjoying my football so much.”
It wasn’t just the lure of working with Martin, however, that enticed Morris to join the Dons.
“It was something I wanted to do. It says a lot that I moved because I was actually in the team at Rotherham at the time and we were first or second.
“It’s not even just Russ - their style of play is getting a lot of attention around the league already. It’s trying to play the right way in a style of football that suits me and the higher levels, and that’s where I want to be eventually.”
As Morris touches on, the Dons have drawn praise for their style of play since the appointment of Martin – a style which, crucially, saw the side’s results and league position improve up until the lockdown in March.
“It’s not a fluke Russ has managed to get everyone pulling in the same direction,” he told the Athletic.
“I always saw him transitioning into that managerial role because of the kind of person he is. He’s obviously been thinking about it and preparing for it for years.
“Honestly, you wouldn’t know he is new to it. His transition from a player in that squad to actually managing it; I can imagine it being the hardest thing to do and it just seems like he’s done it effortlessly.
“At half-time, in games where we’ve underperformed, he’s dug a few people out. As an ex-player in that squad, it could be seen as, ‘Oh, you think you’re better than me?’, but it’s not like that. He has already earned everyone’s respect. He has the right to do that without it looking bad or anyone taking it the wrong way.
“He’s got the perfect balance with his assistant [Luke Williams]. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable working under them and it’s at a time where I understand the game the most in my career, so I can really appreciate it.”
Click HERE to read the full interview with Carlton Morris on The Athetic, where the striker reflects on the highs and lows of his career to date.