PABLO Martinez hailed Oxford City's role in his development after making his EFL debut.

The 20-year-old spent the first half of this season on loan at the Vanarama National League South club from Bristol Rovers, making nine appearances.

Oxford-born Martinez returned to the Sky Bet League One outfit after City's league season was curtailed last month and was promoted to the first-team three weeks ago.

He was thrown in at the deep end against high-flying Sunderland on Saturday, starting in midfield and playing 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat.

After the game, Martinez explained the impact of his first taste of senior football at City.

He told Bristol Live: "That definitely helped, getting those minutes in non-league and the club were always brilliant with me.

"The manager was great and I learnt a lot from it."

Martinez helped David Oldfield's side climb to fourth in the table and featured in their runs to the Emirates FA Cup second round and Buildbase FA Trophy quarter-finals.

City were knocked out of the latter competition at Notts County on February 27, leaving them with up to five months without competitive football.