Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has waxed lyrical about Emiliano Martinez after the Villans summer signing helped his new side to a 1-0 victory in the Premier League.
Smith handed Martinez, Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins their Villa debuts in Monday’s home win over Sheffield United following their respective summer transfers.
Ezri Konsa’s second-half header sealed the three points for the hosts at Villa Park but, before that, Martinez saved well from John Lundstram’s penalty.
Matt Targett fouled Chris Basham in the box 33 minutes into the game, prompting the referee to point to the spot, but Martinez dived to his right and pushed the effort away.
“A great start for Emi Martinez, Matty Cash did OK and so did Ollie Watkins,” Smith told BBC Sport (21:12) at full time. “Emi has Premier League experience and big club experience.”
The Birmingham Mail quotes Smith as saying: “He didn’t have an awful lot to do. His distribution is really good. He’s calm, assured. He’s got a really good personality.
“To keep a clean sheet and to save a penalty in your first game… I’ve not seen it back, it looked harsh at the time. He’s had to go and make a good save and he’s done that.”
Martinez joined Villa for a reported £20million and already he’s looking like a shrewd investment for the claret and blue side.
Aside from his penalty save, he claimed crosses well and his distribution was great.
The 28-year-old will have harder tests but so far, so good – of course, his efforts for Arsenal en route to the FA Cup show he’s certainly capable of thwarting the league’s toughest attacks.