Russell Martin: MK Dons manager named Swansea City head coach

Russell Martin won 29 Scotland caps between 2011 and 2017
Russell Martin won 29 Scotland caps between 2011 and 2017

Swansea City have appointed MK Dons boss Russell Martin as their new head coach.

Martin, 35, has signed a three-year contract with the Championship club.

Swansea are believed to have paid League One MK Dons around £400,000 in compensation to secure Martin's services.

The former Scotland international succeeds Steve Cooper, who left the Liberty Stadium last month.

Martin will be joined at Swansea by three members of his MK Dons coaching staff - Luke Williams, Matt Gill and Dean Thornton, while Alan Tate will continue as first-team coach.

Martin said he was "immensely proud and excited" to take up the post.

"Everything I have heard about the club - be it from the owners, the people here who work inside the club, and people who have been here before that I know - underlines how special it is," he said.

Swansea turned to Martin after Queens Park Rangers assistant manager John Eustace turned down a move to Wales last weekend.

Ex-Chelsea number two Jody Morris was another leading contender for the job, but Swansea opted for Martin, whose possession-based style football matches their philosophy.

"We are delighted with the appointment of Russell as our new head coach," said Swansea chief executive Julian Winter.

"He very much fits the profile of a young and hungry coach who wants to succeed, and he is more than ready for the opportunity.

"When it became clear we would be looking for a new head coach, at the forefront of our thoughts was finding a candidate who was ambitious, driven and with a clear vision of how he wants the team to play.

"We were also seeking someone with a passion for working with and developing young players. Russell ticks all those boxes."

MK Dons released a statement saying how "extremely disappointed" the club are by the timing of Martin's departure.

"Nevertheless, the club would like to thank Russell for his contribution and work during his 21 months in charge and wish him, and his team, all the best for the future," it said.

Martin made almost 600 appearances in a playing career which featured spells at Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United, Norwich City, Rangers and MK Dons, where he won promotion from League Two in 2018-19.

A defender, he was twice promoted to the Premier League with Norwich, while he also climbed from League One to the second tier with the Canaries and Peterborough.

Brighton-born Martin switched from Dons player to manager following the departure of Paul Tisdale in November 2019, when the club were 21st in League One.

Martin's team avoided relegation as they finished 19th in the season curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, and ended up 13th in 2020-21 while winning plaudits for their style of play.

Swansea reached the Championship play-offs in their two campaigns under Cooper, with Wembley defeat to Brentford in May proving to be the former England Under-17 coach's final competitive game.

They have since lost influential players like Andre Ayew, Freddie Woodman and Marc Guehi, leaving the squad Martin inherits looking thin ahead of next Saturday's Championship opener at Blackburn Rovers.

Martin added: "I know the fanbase and what they expect in terms of the modern Swansea way, that started under Roberto Martinez and continued under Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup and people like that.

"I am familiar with that, and I played against most of those teams throughout the years and we, as a coaching team, are very much aligned with that. It excites me.

"We really believe in it, and I hope that is an immediate connection and something we can enjoy."

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