Southampton’s midfielder, Flynn Downes, has expressed his satisfaction with working under manager Russell Martin, emphasizing the clarity and specificity of Martin’s instructions for matchdays. Downes, 24 years old, who had previously been managed by Martin during a season at Swansea before his move to Premier League side West Ham, is currently on loan at St Mary’s and has become a fixture in the midfield anchor role, making 15 Championship appearances for Southampton.
In a recently released video by Saints, Downes shared his positive experiences, stating, “I’ve been with a fair few managers, and I enjoy training here. The gaffer is very specific in what he wants. When you’re going out there, you know exactly what you’re doing and who you’re preparing for.” Downes appreciates Martin’s detailed approach to training, where the team focuses on self-improvement on one day and strategizing on how to counter the opposing team on another, providing a clear game plan for matchdays.
Acknowledging that every manager has a different strategy, Downes emphasized Martin’s hands-on and inclusive approach, saying, “Some managers can be standoffish, but he gets involved, makes everyone feel welcome and part of the team.” Despite some playfulness in Martin’s involvement in training, Downes humorously noted that the manager needs to address a “dodgy calf” but praised his passion for the game and alignment with Downes’ preferred style of play.
Downes highlighted the strong camaraderie within the Southampton squad, particularly his close relationship with teammate Adam Armstrong. Describing the dressing room as “together,” Downes praised the tight-knit group and credited Armstrong for helping him settle into Winchester after his move.
Reflecting on Martin’s approach to team dynamics, Downes noted that the manager identified a fracture in the dressing room during pre-season conversations and aimed to restore enjoyment and fun to the team’s daily activities, aiming to counteract the toll of years spent battling relegation. Key signings, including Downes and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, were chosen for their leadership qualities, while players like Ryan Fraser and Mason Holgate were added to bring a sense of enjoyment to the squad.
Downes emphasized the importance of leading by example both on and off the pitch, mentioning practices such as keeping the dressing room tidy, punctuality, and maintaining personal equipment. While Downes enjoys banter with teammates, he acknowledged leaving the role of the dressing room jester to Mason Holgate, praising Holgate’s positive influence and character.
Additionally, Downes commended Ryan Fraser as both a great person and player, contributing to the positive atmosphere within the team. Overall, Downes’ remarks shed light on the positive impact of Russell Martin’s management style and the cohesive and enjoyable environment within the Southampton squad.