Emi Martinez is motivated to win Arsenal’s number one spot this season, and he thinks the only thing holding him back is a lack of game time.
After a strong loan spell with Reading in the Championship last season, Martinez had the opportunity to leave Arsenal and start the next chapter in his career. With Petr Cech and David Ospina leaving, however, Arsenal were keen for the goalkeeper to stay, and they ended up convincing him to do so.
After a pre-season where both played a similar number of games, Martinez hasn’t played a minute of competitive football so far.
The Argentine is expected to get a chance to prove himself this month in the League Cup and in Europe, and he thinks he can push himself into contention the number one spot in the league too.
“Last year Petr Cech started as a starter and Bernd Leno played the cups,” he told the Arsenal En America podcast (via football.london).
“But this year Leno starts number one and I’m playing those competitions, although everything can change, because they left me at the club knowing that I can be number one.
“He has more professional matches than me, but in qualities, I am equal to or better than him.”
The 27-year-old doesn’t lack self-belief, which is probably part of why he’s spent so many years with Arsenal, having faith he’d get a chance eventually.
Martinez does admit he considered leaving this summer though, before the Arsenal staff convinced him otherwise.
“I wanted to play, it was going to be my priority,” he said. “After nine years without much rhythm, I wanted to leave.
“But I got the news that I was going to play more games and I decided to stay to try to be number one. I’m very prepared. If I didn’t believe myself of being capable of taking that position, I would not have stayed.”
It’s good to have a competitive spirit between the two goalkeepers, as long as they can remain civil about it. You want them both to give everything to keep or earn their spot, and for Martinez that starts with his first games of the season this month.