Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson says Emi Martinez’s fight for the number one spot at Arsenal inspires him to make the same push for appearances.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Arsenal goalkeeping coach Ianki Cana Pavon with new signing Alex Runarsson during a training session at London Colney on September 21, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Arsenal goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana Pavon with new signing Alex Runarsson on September 21, 2020. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson effectively joined Arsenal as a replacement for Emi Martinez this summer. Although he’s still waiting on his debut, he made the bench for all four matches since his arrival, in both the Premier League and the League Cup.

Bernd Leno is the clear number one, and likely to remain in goal regardless of the competition Arsenal are playing in. But Rúnarsson will get his chance eventually, and he says Martinez inspires him to make sure he’s ready for it.

“I read an interview with him a couple of days ago and he said he came in as the ninth-choice goalkeeper, but he worked his a*se off to become the first-choice at Arsenal after Leno’s injury,” Rúnarsson told Goal.

“Then, he makes a brilliant move to Aston Villa for £20m. That should inspire everyone, not just me. That’s my plan: to work my a*se off, enjoy every minute of it, and get as many games as possible.

“I know it is going to be hard. But I will work for it for every minute and do what’s necessary to get as many games as possible. I think the only person I can rely on for this is myself, so I know that and I will try to do it.”

The 25-year-old already has one advantage at Arsenal, knowing goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana well. They worked together at FC Nordsjælland in Denmark, and they clearly get along with each other, based on the things they’ve said.

It’s Mikel Arteta that Rúnarsson needs to impress now, just like Martinez did. A nice cup draw and some dominant early Europa League performances would certainly help him get on the pitch too.