Wood hails "massive" Martin influence

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Nathan Wood has revealed the “massive” influence Russell Martin had on his career during their previous spell together at Swansea, and can’t wait to be reunited with his former boss at Southampton.

Martin signed the 22-year-old two summers ago, and the pair enjoyed one season together in the Championship before the manager departed to take the Saints job last year.

Wood remained in south Wales but says they stayed in contact, and spoke of how Martin had helped him mature as a player and person when he moved away from the North East for the first time, having made the significant decision to leave Middlesbrough for Swansea at the age of 20.

“We had a good relationship, so we kept in touch through the past year, and when the phone call came and it was like, ‘we want you to come’, it was easy really,” the defender said.

“It’s massive. I think any player would say it’s a big thing when you know you’ve got someone that believes in you – someone that’s going to give you the chance and improve you as a player and as a person.

“I think that was one of the big things at Swansea – I was moving away for the first time, properly away from home, so I had to get used to living five hours away from home.

“Obviously I improved on the pitch massively in those 40 games, but it was more off the pitch where the big difference was. We had a great group of lads at Swansea, but I think that filtered down from the way the manager set standards, and the environment.”

As for the football, Wood already understands Martin’s distinctive style, and has already excelled in his system before.

“It’s the best type of football, I think. For me, personally, I think I enjoyed my football the most in that one season at Swansea with the gaffer,” he continued.

“It’s enjoyable to watch, it’s enjoyable to play in, and I’m just looking forward to seeing how it goes in the Prem. I think it’s going to be exciting.

“To implement the way we want to play, that’s a big thing for the manager – he’s not going to change the way he is – and to really put our mark on the league.

“I think the main focus is just to get the best out of myself and everyone else around me every day, and I’m sure we will succeed.”

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