When it comes to fighting it out for the number one shirt at a football club, patience can be a virtue.

Goalkeepers have it tougher than most trying to break into the first team, with managers and clubs often reluctant to make a change in one of the most critical positions on the pitch.

Emiliano Martínez can certainly attest to that. He joined Arsenal from Independiente in 2010 but spent the last nine years on various loan spells, to different degrees of success.

This year, though, he’s found himself in the first-team picture after a successful spell at Reading last year provided plenty of evidence that he could provide stern competition to current Arsenal number one Bernd Leno.

Martínez has since started as Arsenal’s cup keeper, making two appearances in the Europa League and one in the Carabao Cup, and he now feels he’s close to being number one outright.

“It’s the first time I feel this way,” he told Clarín.

“I am in one of the best clubs in the world. Arriving here at age 16, it is much more difficult than in any other team to reach the first team.

“But after a lot of work and some loans, today I’m going toe-to-toe [with Leno]. I’m cutting my teeth in European competitions, and that has a lot of value since not every club does that.”

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Key to Martínez’s reversal in fortune was convincing Unai Emery that he was worthy of keeping when he replaced Arsene Wenger at the helm.

The Spaniard has focused on reinventing the squad since replacing Wenger last summer, and that’s saw numerous players brought in by the Frenchman moved on.

Martínez could have been one of them but said he ended up surprising the Arsenal boss, and that’s what made him stay to fight it out at the Emirates.

“He (Wenger) always trusted me,” he added.

“Beyond his departure, people stayed in the club that already knew me. When I renewed with Wenger, he told me that I was going to be the number one at Arsenal.

“Unai Emery, the current coach, wanted to see me and was very surprised with me. In fact, I stayed because I knew I had real chances; otherwise, I would have gone to play somewhere else.

“London is very nice, I’m comfortable, but I’m not staying in comfort. And if I had to go somewhere else to play, I would do it.”