By Joe Brewin
Damian Martinez says he will be ready for the first team whenever Arsène Wenger needs him.
The young Argentine has impressed in Neil Banfield’s reserves set-up since the start of the season, emerging as the second string’s regular goalkeeper at the age of 19.
Martinez’s performances have been rewarded with two appearances on the first-team bench - against Shrewsbury and Leeds - and he is keen for taste of the senior side before the season’s end.
“I have been training all my life and I am ready to play,” Martinez told Arsenal.com.
“Gerry [Peyton, the goalkeeper coach,] said to me that I would be on the bench for the Carling Cup and then I was there for the FA Cup too. He said to me: 'If you have to come on, are you ready?', and I said 'Yes, I am ready'.
“I am still looking forward to being on the bench for a few more games, trying to do my best in the reserves and then be ready for the first team. These are my ambitions for the next two months.”
But while a shot at the first team is Martinez’s ultimate target, a loan move may be the next step for the young goalkeeper.
Wojciech Szczesny enjoyed a hugely successful six-month loan spell at Brentford during the 2009/10 campaign and Martinez admits a similar experience may be his best route to the first team.
“He [Wojciech] said he wasn't ready for the first team yet so he went out on loan and learned so much there,” said Martinez. “Then he came back to Arsenal and played in the first team as he was ready.
“Next season a loan spell could be an option for me.”Copyright 2016 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