Young Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone has signed a new long-term contract.
Shortly after putting pen to paper, the 21-year-old spoke to Arsenal.com about his 'breakthrough' season and his future at Emirates Stadium.
Vito, how are you feeling about committing your future to Arsenal?
“It's a great day for me, a great moment. I'm really happy to be staying at Arsenal Football Club and will give everything to repay the Club for the faith they have shown in me.”
There were rumours of a number of Italian clubs interested in you, but was it always Arsenal for you?
“Yes, it was always Arsenal. I'm delighted to be staying here because it was always my plan when I was really young to come to England and make it here at Arsenal, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. Now I want to try and become the number one goalkeeper here, and help the team win trophies.”
You've been here over four years now. How have you progressed as player and as a man?
“I have progressed a lot since coming here. I've been here for a lot of my growing life so yes, I have improved as a man and as a player. I've learned a lot from my experiences at Arsenal and am happy to have the chance to grow more and more.”
You’ve made a big breakthrough this season, you’ve played well in the first-team. What have been the highlights for you?
“Each game has been great for me. My run of games in the first team was great because the team never lost. So that was a good achievement and now I have the chance to show the fans, the Club, the players and everyone that I can do the same as I already have in my nine first-team appearances so far.”
What are now your short-term aims?
“Every day when I go on the training pitch I try to show everyone that I'm the best. It's normal - every goalkeeper does that. I'm not working for nothing, I'm working to achieve something. I know I have time on my side and am very young, so it's good for me that Arsenal and the manager believe in me. I will try to become the number one as soon as possible.”
What’s the latest with the Italian Under-21s, and do you think this has improved you?
“In March, we have a qualifying match for the European Championships, against Hungary, and we need to win so it's a very important game. I hope to be able to help the team and show on an international pitch that I can play. Being around the national setup is different, but you can show what you have taken from England and Arsenal and demonstrate all that you have learned in training and matches.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Jan 2010