Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez has revealed his pride at playing for the club after Bernd Leno was ruled out for the rest of the season.
The Argentine goalkeeper has had his break with the Gunners this season, starring for them in the Europa League and cup competitions earlier in the campaign.
This has been his first taste of prolonged football with the club, despite having been there for a decade, having spent most of his time in London out on loan at various clubs.
He now finds himself as the club’s number one goalkeeper, though, after first-choice Leno was ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up an injury in the recent defeat to Brighton.
That’s a big step up for the Argentine, who admits he’s enjoying the role, and Mikel Arteta’s desire for him to play out from the back.
“Obviously being at Arsenal is a goal for many goalkeepers and more so with South Americans,” he told TyC Sports.
“I came here at a young age and always with one goal; to play the most matches in this beautiful club.
“Today it is my turn, I am doing it in a very responsible way, and I am proud to represent my country in one of the best teams.
“I always liked playing with my feet, so modern football suits me very well. If you watch Arsenal games, the goalkeeper starts the play.
“Likewise, the number one goal is to save. In a big club like Arsenal, you usually get it once or twice and have to stop it.
“This is what the club requires. Then if you play well with your feet, that’s a plus.”
Martínez returned to Arsenal this summer after spending the season on loan at Championship side Reading,
The Royals were his sixth loan spell away from Arsenal since arriving at the club in 2010, but easily his most successful to date as he managed 18 appearances and five clean sheets in total.
It’s an experience that’s proven very useful to Martínez, who admits that he feels he could play at any level as a result of what he learned from it.
“What the Championship has is that is is much more physical,” he added.
“For a young goalkeeper it is good because you learn much more in the second division than in the first, I can assure you that.”