Emiliano Martinez says his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday gave him greater command of his penalty area.
The Argentine goalkeeper played twice for Arsenal before leaving on loan last season and his improvement was rewarded by Arsene Wenger, who named him as a substitute in the Gunners’ Community Shield triumph.
Speaking after a dominant display in Arsenal Under-21s’ 2-0 victory against Aston Villa on Thursday night, Martinez revealed how he’s improved over the past 11 months.
"I’ve renewed my contract with Arsenal and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting a few games this season"
“I’ve been working on being more commanding in the box,” the 22-year-old told Arsenal.com. “I didn’t have any experience before and I went to the Championship, which is all about crosses and making the right decision. I learnt a lot because I played nearly 20 games so I’m a completely different keeper now.”
Martinez deputised for Chris Kirkland at Wednesday and explained how important it is for young players to work with experienced professionals, such as the former England goalkeeper and Wojciech Szczesny.
“[Chris Kirkland is] a top man,” he added. “He’s a hard worker and a really good keeper that used to play for England. So it wasn’t easy to get his spot but I took it when I was working really hard and I played really well in quite a few wins and gained a lot of experience.
“I’ve been working with Wojciech for nearly four years already. Since I came to Arsenal I’ve been working with him, Gerry Peyton and Tony Roberts. I like working with Wojciech, he’s a really funny guy, and David Ospina as well - now I’ve got a Spanish speaker.
“David's a really nice guy so he fits really well in the group and he’s a really good goalkeeper. You saw him at the World Cup and he was very good. I didn’t see him at Nice or how he did, but you can see in training he’s good. So I’m ready to fight with him and with Wojciech.”
Martinez may get the chance to challenge for the No. 1 shirt when Arsenal face Southampton in the Capital One Cup at Emirates Stadium on September 23, a competition he’s familiar with.
"I’m ready to fight with David and Wojciech"
“I’m looking forward to it," he said. "I know David hasn’t played yet and he might get a chance in the Capital One Cup but when I’ve played in the under-21s I’ve shown the manager that I can play, so hopefully he will give me a chance.
“I think I’m progressing every season. I’ve shown the manager that I can play in pre-season against Benfica and in the USA. I’ve renewed my contract with Arsenal and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting a few games this season.”
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