The young Argentinian keeper Damien Martinez has been thrust into the limelight due to the ongoing injuries to the Arsenal first-choice keepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski, and although he is only the reserve to Vito Mannone at the moment, he is fully prepared to play for the full 90 minutes against Norwich if Wenger decides to make a change.
Martinez said: “The English Premier League is the best in the world. I have adapted very well here and it truly is amazing,”
“The best thing is the high level of football, pitches here are perfect. It’s unbelievable and I hope to stay in this league for as long as I can.
“At Norwich City on Saturday I think I’m going to be on the bench, but the possibility of playing from the start is always there. I’m prepared for that.
“I have shown that I can play at the top level even at my age. It is the manager’s decision and I have to wait for that moment to come. Despite the fact that I’ve just turned 20, I think I’m progressing well and I’m taking solid steps forward. I hope to keep playing here.”
The youngster arrived from Argentina at the tender age of 17 but he believes that Wenger has faith in him, just as he has with the other younger members of the Gunners squad. “Wenger is a great manager, very professional and very demanding,” he said. “but he also gives youngsters a lot of freedom. He treats every player the same. I have a lot of admiration for him as a manager and as a person,”
“I have been working here for the last three years and I’m in a great mood. I play like I’ve always played, only here pitches are different and football is faster, but my job is the same and I have to defend my goal.”
He has had a taste of first-team football in Arsenal’s 6-1 demolition of Coventry, and he loved every minute of it. “That 6-1 win over Coventry was emotional, it was the perfect match for me to make my debut,” he said.
“The League Cup is important. Arsenal lost the final two seasons ago. In two weeks we have to play Reading in that competition.”
Martinez also admitted that it was a wrench to move to another continent as such an early age, but he is also certain he made the right decision for his career to move to Arsenal.
“Leaving Independiente was tough,” he continued. “All my friends were there. I played four years there. It was difficult but I wanted to build my career in Europe at one of the best clubs in the world. Luckily for me, I didn’t get it wrong. I’m seeing the results now and I want more.
“I left when I was very young, without having the chance to play for Independiente in the First Division, but before I retire, I’m going to return to the club that gave me everything.”
Being on the bench for the first-team games is a big step up for him and he is likely to play again soon in the Capital One Cup, and if Szczesny and Fabianski remain out of the picture for some time (which is looking likely), Arsenal fans could be seeing a lot more of young Martinez in the near future……