CECH ME OUT AT WOLVES, ARSENE

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Paddy von Behr

NOT even the lure of learn­ing his trade from Petr Cech was enough to keep Emil­iano Martinez away from a full sea­son at Wolves.

Martinez, who joined Arse­nal from boy­hood club In­de­pen­di­ente in Ar­gentina three years ago, may have seen Wo­j­ciech Szczesny’s Emi­rates Sta­dium exit this sum­mer as an op­por­tu­nity to make his mark in north Lon­don.

In­stead, Cech ar­rived and the 23-year-old, who has en­joyed pre­vi­ous loan spells at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day and Rother­ham United, made his way to Mo­lineux.

Arse­nal’s goal­keeper sit­u­a­tion has been far from sta­ble this sea­son, as David Ospina’s howler landed them in Cham­pi­ons League trou­ble ear­lier this month – while former Bris­tol Rovers young­ster Matt Macey was their back-up stop­per for Tues­day’s clash with Bay­ern Mu­nich.

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But Cech (pic­tured be­low) was im­pe­ri­ous that night and Martinez ad­mits a spot on the Gun­ners bench is noth­ing com­pared to a lengthy run in the side at Wolves.

“(Arse­nal man­ager) Arsene Wenger wanted me to stay and learn from Petr Cech but noth­ing is bet­ter than play­ing week in, week out,” he said.

“Petr Cech is a leg­end and David Ospina as well. I will learn lots from them but noth­ing re­places play­ing reg­u­larly. That is how you learn and make de­ci­sions.

“It is a sea­son loan and I’m re­ally happy here. I want to stay here and get pro­moted.

“We wanted to im­prove in ev­ery area this year – com­pe­ti­tion in goal and all over the pitch. Ev­ery­one is think­ing about pro­mo­tion.

“I’m not wor­ried about next sea­son. I have to worry about this sea­son and how we are go­ing to do. Next sea­son is an­other sea­son al­to­gether.”

Martinez was not short of op­tions at the start of the sea­son, ac­cord­ing to the man him­self, but Kenny Jack­ett’s side topped the list.

And that was in no small part down to Wolves striker Benik Afobe – the former Arse­nal young­ster hav­ing a per­sua­sive word with his old mate.

“I had a few teams to choose from but Wolves were the main tar­get be­cause I knew Benik Afobe and he spoke so highly about the club,” said Martinez.

“When you go on loan it’s a bit hard but once you have set­tled into a team it is much bet­ter. It took me a lit­tle while – two or three weeks – to get set­tled.

“It’s hard when you don’t know the names of the de­fend­ers, but it’s good now. I knew Benny and he helped me out when I first ar­rived. “He said they are the best team in the Cham­pi­onship, the fa­cil­i­ties are

amaz­ing, the man­ager is great and the lads are very wel­com­ing.

“It has been re­ally good. When you play week in, week out with th­ese kinds of play­ers, I re­ally en­joy it.”

Martinez has been start­ing games but that sit­u­a­tion is far from guar­an­teed, given the com­pe­ti­tion at the club – in the shape of Nige­ria in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Carl Ikeme.

“I need to per­form in ev­ery game be­cause Carl is a re­ally good goalie,” he said.

“The gaffer said he had a re­ally good year last year, but I came here to play ev­ery game. I got to know him and he is a re­ally nice lad.

“I like the pres­sure and I like to com­pete. If you get the No.1 shirt too eas­ily, you don’t per­form well. When some­one is push­ing you, then you push your­self.”

And it is not just be­tween the posts that Martinez has im­pressed – the young­ster was caught on cam­era fir­ing a vol­ley into the top cor­ner in a train­ing drill ear­lier this month and the video went vi­ral.

“I showed that keep­ers can hit the tar­get as well,” he shrugged.

“I didn’t ex­pect it to be like that but Arse­nal put it on their Twit­ter and In­sta­gram and lots of peo­ple retweeted it.

“I prac­tise a lot and it is some­thing I have in my locker.”

Ac­tion Images

OLD DAYS: Arse­nal’s Wo­j­ciech Szczesny, Martinez and David Ospina in train­ing HERO: Martinez saves a penalty from Brighton’s Tomer Hemed in their 0-0 draw STARTER: Emil­iano Martinez is en­joy­ing play­ing for WolvesPICTURE:

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