Runar Alex Runarsson has told Goal that everyone should be inspired by Emiliano Martinez’s journey at Arsenal which culminated in a £20 million move to Aston Villa in the summer.
Martinez made the switch to Villa Park after an outstanding run as number one in Mikel Arteta’s side. It looked to be a real blow for the Gunners when they lost Bernd Leno to injury late last season.
However, the Argentinian proved that he was much better than an understudy during his time between the sticks. And it appeared that Arteta faced a huge dilemma going into this campaign.
Ultimately, both Leno and Martinez have played regularly in the opening weeks of the season. That came about with the latter joining the Villans. As Goal notes, Dean Smith’s side paid £20 million for the 28-year-old.
That transfer opened the door for Arsenal to sign Runarsson days later. And the Iceland international – who is still awaiting his debut for the Gunners – insisted that Martinez is the perfect player to look up to in his position.
“I read an interview with him a couple of days ago and he said he came in as the ninth-choice goalkeeper, but he worked his a*se off to become the first-choice at Arsenal after Leno’s injury,” he told Goal. “Then, he makes a brilliant move to Aston Villa for £20m. That should inspire everyone, not just me.
“That’s my plan: to work my a*se off, enjoy every minute of it and get as many games as possible.”
It is going to be a big ask for Runarsson to put pressure on Leno. The German has established himself as one of the most consistent stoppers in the Premier League.
However, Martinez would have been wondering whether he would get his chance in North London at the same point this time last year.
Of course, Runarsson will have no desire to see Leno pick up another injury. But he will certainly be determined to make the most of an opportunity should one come his way in the coming months.