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Patience, perseverance and determination: The story of Emiliano Martinez

Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 26 Jul 2020, 15:07 IST
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The job of a goalkeeper is nothing but easy. There can be only one spot for a goalkeeper in the starting XI and many talented keepers need to wait for years their chance. Emiliano Martinez has had to play the waiting game ever since leaving his homeland, Argentina, way back in 2010.

Emiliano Martinez, over the years, had been overlooked and not given a starting role at Arsenal. However, after staying patient for nearly a decade, hefinally got a string of opportunities after the restart when regular no. 1 Bernd Leno got sidelined with a knee injury which he sustained against Brighton .

Emiliano Martinez has not only been up to the task but has thrived in his role as the stand-in kKeeper for Arsenal. While Arsenal's form has been inconsistent, not the same can be said about Emiliano Martinez who has kept 3 clean sheets in 8 matches while conceding only 7 goals in the Premier League.

He has been reliable with the gloves and has made some crucial saves for Arsenal, most notably the final minute free-kick save against Liverpool denying Trent Alexander-Arnold and securing Arsenal a 2-0 victory.

Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Emiliano Martinez- The long, winding road to glory

Emiliano Martinez was signed in by Arsenal from Independiente as a teenager in 2010. He had impressed a scout with his performances for the Argentinian club in a youth tournament where he was also adjudged the best goalkeeper.

After arriving at Arsenal, Emiliano Martinez was sent out on a barrage of loan spells beginning with Oxford United where he made his debut in the English Football League in the last game of the season against Port Vale.

Martinez made his Arsenal debut against Coventry City in a League cup game which Arsenal won 6-1. Labeled as the third-choice keeper behind Szczęsny and David Ospina in succession for the season 2014-15, he got his first string of opportunities when both shot-stoppers got injured that season.

As a result, he started in a Champions League group stage fixture against Borussia Dortmund which the Gunners won 2-0.

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Emiliano Martinez earned plaudits for his performances and soon was given his first Premier League start against West Brom. However, despite good performances, he was sent on a loan spell to Rotherham United followed by an injury-laden loan season with Wolves.

His career seemed to be hanging in the balance after just 5 appearances for La Liga side Getafe in the 2017-18 season until the following year when he was sent on a late loan spell to Reading. The move rescued his career as he received praise for his excellent work with the Royals who managed to avoid the drop.

After his heroic performances at Reading, he was called on to serve as a backup to Leno with a promise of League and FA cup matches for the 2019-20 season. Emiliano Martinez has not failed to disappoint the fans in the current season with his incredible reflexes and quick movements off his mark.

Outside the pitch, Martinez has taken up the role of a senior player who has been working closely with the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Lucas Torreira to help them settle down in a new country.

Fulham v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship
Fulham v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship
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A humble start

Martinez hails from very humble beginnings in Argentina. He credits his father for his career who didn't even have money to buy meat for dinner and couldn't afford gloves for his son. Coming from a poor background, Martinez promised his father that he would be the best he could at Emirates and one day be the number one at the London club.

Emiliano Martinez has shared a good relationship with legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who used to refer to him as the 'future of the club'. Needless to say, Martinez has kept himself grounded for a decade at the Emirates and has been very patient in his wait for chances.

Emiliano Martinez has been loaned out multiple times and even played the occasional league cup or FA cup matches. He has got some game time with the reserve teams and a few matches in Pre-season and the Asia tours. The Argentinian shot-stopper is adept with his feet and possesses good vision.

He has great reflexes and is a good reader of the game. He seems too good to be just a squad player. However, with regular Gunners no. 1 keeper Leno sidelined till the end of the 2019-20 season the Argentinian is getting some deserved game time under Mikel Arteta. Emiliano Martinez is living the dream for the time being. Only time itself will tell whether he can prolong it.

Published 26 Jul 2020, 14:39 IST
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