Arsene Wenger praised Matt Macey after his performance against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night.

Although the reserve goalkeeper seemed a little nervous at first, in the end he impressed everyone – especially the boss.

“I think he took his chance very well, he is huge, he is quick and you do not often find combinations of that size and that speed, he is very agile as well for a guy who is tall like that,” said Wenger. “He came late to us considering normally goalkeepers come at the age of 16, he came at 20, but he is intelligent and very focused. That’s why I was pleased to give him a chance tonight and I think he took it already against Norwich and as well tonight he played very well.”

Macey’s match against Red Star in the Europa League was only his second for the first team since he joined the club from Bristol Rovers’ youth team in 2013 and the occasion wasn’t lost on the six-foot-six giant.

“Obviously that’s the aim for all the young lads here in the academy,” Macey said. “That’s the dream when you join Arsenal as a kid, to go on and be a regular and it’s just part of the stepping stones, but there’s a lot more hard work and I’ve got a lot more to do to make the next step.

“It was obviously a big occasion for me. To play in Europe is a big step in my career, but the boys made it easy in front of me, they defended well and it was good test because they’re a good side, but it’s about building on that now.

“It’s important that we qualify now with the other result going our way, but now we’ve got to finish the job and finish top.”

The 23-year-old also started against Norwich City in the League Cup last week and admittedly didn’t put on the best display since he shipped a goal in the 34th minute.

However, he was much better on Thursday. The shot-stopper, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Luton Town, made three saves overall. Two of which were excellent and he played a vital role in keeping a clean sheet on the night.

Macey has under a year left on his current Arsenal contract and it’s unclear whether he’ll stay or go. David Ospina should hopefully be off next summer, which will open up a permanent space on the bench if the Gunners don’t sign someone new.

Pete Cech also has under two years left on his deal so if Macey fancies eyeing up that first team spot, it could be all his if he puts in the work.

Obviously, that’s not on the cards just yet.

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