Josh Martin's loan spells away from Norwich City have served as a major reality check after an early exposure to Premier League football. 

The midfielder, who joined Barnsley on loan in the summer, is currently away from Carrow Road for the third time in under two years and believes those moves have aided his development. 

With loans, there is always a focus on how players adapt to life on the pitch - but Martin feels is within himself as a person where the major changes have arrived. 

"You go through the highs of playing and then the lows of not playing. You go from a team that is in the Premier League where you think you're at the top and then you get a big reality check.

"That is a key part of being a footballer," the Canaries loanee said at a pre-match press conference.

"There have been tough times but mentally I have had to stay strong and I've grown so much as a person because of it.

"If you look at me a year or two ago, I've always been an observer in a room, but I was much quieter and didn't express myself too much. To come to a team like Barnsley and be comfortable in the group shows an improvement in my development."

Martin has been on a whirlwind journey at Carrow Road since arriving from Arsenal in 2020. 

Impressive performances in the FA Youth Cup led to a senior debut against Southampton after Project Restart and he was considered a first-team option under Daniel Farke thereafter. 

Nine Championship appearances followed, including his first senior goal in City's 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in December of that season. 

A loan move to MK Dons followed, where limited opportunities saw him move to Doncaster, where he impressed in a team that would end up getting relegated. 

He is now at Barnsley aiming for consistency having played nine times so far this season. 

But his experiences have taught him the importance of patience and he is determined to adapt to Michael Duff's new tactical system. 

"I've learned a lot about how to be a footballer (whilst on loan), how to live, how to be professional and you can't come in every day taking it easy.

The Pink Un: Josh Martin was highly rated by former City boss Daniel Farke. Josh Martin was highly rated by former City boss Daniel Farke. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

"You have to keep pushing yourself and finding new ways to improve. The manager mentioned that it's about mentality and I agree - that is massive," Martin said.

"The more games that you play, the more experience and the tougher the situations that you get put in, it helps you. In football, you have to suffer a lot so that is a lot of it really.

"The senior players who have been around for a while have gone through that. They don't take anything for granted.

"I know what I need to do. I know the formation has changed and that it is slightly tougher for me but I'm trying to adapt my game to suit the style of play. I feel I am doing as well as I can."