Emi Martinez believes he made a mistake by listening to Arsene Wenger and, as a result, believes no young player should ever listen to a manager in what is quite possibly some of the stupidest advice ever given as he changes his story.

Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal goalkeeper, sleeps while hugging the FA Cup
Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal goalkeeper, sleeps while hugging the FA Cup

Emi Martinez was at Arsenal for 10 years and couldn’t break into the Arsenal first team despite having some truly awful keepers ahead of him.

Is that his fault or the fault of the manager?

There is a case to be made that the goalkeeping department at Arsenal has a lot to answer for under Gerry Peyton’s command, but the Argentine keeper still had a decade to prove himself and didn’t.

Martinez thinks listening to Arsene Wenger telling him how good he was, and how he was going to be Arsenal’s number one, was a mistake.

Perhaps it was. That hardly seems reason to tell all young players not to bother listening to manager.

“I listened to Wenger for too long,” Martinez said. “He’d been telling me since the age of 20 I was going to be a superstar. He was always telling me I was going to be No.1 for Arsenal.

“I would always listen because he was one of the best managers in the world. But now I’m older, I realise that was a mistake.

“A young player should never listen to a manager. He should listen to himself.

Emi Martinez on Arsene Wenger: Daily Mirror, 26 December, 2020
Emi Martinez on Arsene Wenger: Daily Mirror, 26 December, 2020

“When I left Arsenal no one understood – not even my wife. Someone close to the manager told me I had a 75-per-cent chance of playing in the first game of this season against Fulham. [see below for how Martinez’s story has changed]

“But after just winning two trophies and 13 games out of 16, I thought, ‘Why isn’t it 100 per cent?’. It didn’t feel right. So I asked Mikel Arteta, ‘Am I playing or not? Just be honest with me’ – and he couldn’t answer.

“I wasn’t feeling comfortable with it. I woke up in the morning and I called everyone into the living room and said, ‘We’re going to Aston Villa’.

“Arteta helped me win two trophies and I hope he is Arsenal manager for many years.”

As I said at the time, Martinez certainly improved when the goalkeeping coach changed at Arsenal but the fact remains he showed himself to be of a good enough standard for just a few months out of 10 years.

He then started demanding to be made number one. Martinez also wanted a guarantee that he would be the club’s number one.

That’s not how it works.

As a result, he jumped ship and headed to Aston Villa where he is proving himself to be an adequate keeper, as we all expected.

Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s also worth noting that when Emi Martinez started telling this story back in October he said he was told he had a ‘95% chance‘. Strange how the mind changes things to suit, eh?

“I thought if I played well that game, I would be number one, but afterwards it still wasn’t clear who was going to start in the league,” Martinez said in October.

“I was told that there was a 95 percent chance I would start against Fulham [on the first day of the season], but I just thought, ‘why not 100 percent?’ Something didn’t feel right. Everyone wanted me to stay, but that’s when I decided to go.”