Nino Severino: Ipswich Town star Martyn Waghorn is a true sporting thoroughbred
PUBLISHED: 14:31 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 11 April 2018
In his latest weekly column, Nino Severino discusses a training session with Ipswich Town star Martyn Waghorn – and how impressed he was with him, both as an athlete and a man.
During my coaching career I’ve been very fortunate to work with many athletes across many sports, including British, Commonwealth, European and World Champions and also an Olympian – and my story as a coach continues now as part of the Ipswich Town coaching staff.
I’m one of those people who believe in destiny, and the part it plays in the twists and turns of all our life journeys – my personal life path crossed with a young man called Martyn Waghorn recently.
It all started with an inquiry to the Elena Baltacha Foundation regarding tennis for a young budding little tennis star, from his mother Leoni, this led to a meeting and the process of settling master Waghorn into a great tennis programme here in Ipswich.
My first meeting with Martyn and Leoni Waghorn was quite incredible, we talked about many things, and it was one of those meetings that you come out of thinking what lovely people, it was as though I had known them for a very long time.
This meeting led to Leoni and Martyn becoming great friends of my wife’s foundation and committing to supporting many of the events we run.
During one of our meetings Martyn and I started to talk about sport and my specialist field of movement, and one thing led to another and we agreed to arrange a training session.
This was easy, as Martyn is of course a Town player, and I am part of Bryan Klug’s ITFC academy coaching team. The indoor dome facility was booked and both Martyn and I were working together on the indoor artificial pitch.
As I’ve said, I’ve worked with many athletes, but one thing is for sure, Martyn ranks right up there in terms of quality – he is what I would call a sporting thoroughbred.
Simply put physically he is outrageous, an individual who has been blessed with an incredible athletic body – but he’s not satisfied with this, he has invested in what I call his athletic craft and built on what he was born with through many gruelling hours in the gym.
For me, he’s also an anomaly, not only for a footballer, but an athlete in general. I say this, because his knowledge and intelligence across sports science and training methods and principles, is simply on another level.
At the end of one of our training sessions, we sat down, and just talked all things sport. I wanted to know a little bit more about this man who has crossed my path and what I was about to hear is quite an incredible story.
Martyn started playing football at the tender age of three. He said: “From the very first kick, football became my life, and I have very fond memories as a kid, playing in the back garden with my dad, who taught me the basics.
“I just loved playing football and scoring goals so the coaches must have seen there was a bit of talent in me. I then went on to join a local club team called Boldon Colts, my first team, where my dad had become the manager.
“While playing for Boldon I was picked up by a local scout and had the opportunity to join Manchester United School of Excellence. “This was a great place for me to go learn the game and develop my skills. Pretty much every day of the week and weekends was taken up by football training.”
While Martyn was telling me all about his journey through football I could not help but notice this man is absolutely in love with the game – as he spoke, his eyes lit up, and he talked me through his path to Ipswich Town Football Club.
“As I was progressing very well at eight-years-old I was offered to leave the school of excellence and join Sunderland academy. “This is where my career really began. I would stay at Sunderland until I left in 2010.
“I learnt everything about football from my time at the club. The people I met, the coaches I learnt from gave me the very basics required to succeed on and off the pitch.
“I was lucky enough to work with some great coaches growing up and I owe a lot to them, for where I am today, especially to Eliiot Dickman, Ged Mcnamee and Kevin Ball.”
Martyn’s football life took him through spells with Charlton, Leicester Hull City, Millwall and Wigan and then onto a glorious period with Glasgow Rangers, where his 20 goal haul helped Rangers back into the Scottish Premiership and qualify for the Europa League.
It was fantastic to hear this all from Martyn himself after a great training session, just sitting in front of the goal, relaxing like two old friends who had all the time in the world.
A very special experience, with a truly humble man.