In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Emiliano Martinez talks about his “difficult” Arsenal exit, his start to life at Aston Villa and their hopes for the end of the season; watch Aston Villa vs Wolves on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm on Saturday; kick-off 5.30pm

Martinez was an Arsenal player for a decade and there were loans to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Getafe and Reading, as well as Villa’s opponents on Saturday, Wolves. But it wasn’t until the final few months of his time with the Gunners that he enjoyed a significant breakthrough in his career.

“I’ve never loved football as much as I do now.” After a whirlwind year, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is delighted to be finally showing everyone his talent and is keen to repay the faith shown in him by Aston Villa following his move from Arsenal.

It’s not been an easy journey for the former Arsenal goalkeeper.

Martinez was an Arsenal player for a decade and there were loans to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Getafe and Reading, as well as Villa’s opponents on Saturday, Wolves. But it wasn’t until the final few months of his time with the Gunners that he enjoyed a significant breakthrough in his career.

“I love everything about Arsenal,” Martinez told Sky Sports. “I still love them and I’m still watching the games, but I just felt like they didn’t trust me like they should have.

“That’s the reality because they kept buying goalkeepers to go in front of me and I was the goalkeeper from the academy.

“When I was on a high, I still felt like they didn’t deserve me because of the way they were treating me. They couldn’t guarantee me the games I needed so I thought that if they couldn’t guarantee me the games I needed, then I’m moving on.

“They didn’t say to me that I wasn’t going to play, they just didn’t guarantee me the games that I wanted to play.

“So, after 10 years, I decided to leave, and it was very difficult. My family didn’t understand why I was leaving when I was at such a good level at Arsenal, but it was my decision to leave and I’m really proud I did it.

“It was a gamble, but I always believe that if you stay in the comfort zone, you will never reach anything in life. I decided to take the step up.”

It’s a decision that has proved to be right as Martinez, who joined for a fee of around £20m last summer, grabbed the number one jersey at Villa Park and made it his own, continuing the form he showed in his final few months at Arsenal.

And it is the trust that manager Dean Smith and Aston Villa placed in him that is spurring him on to continue his excellent start to his Villa career.

“It means everything [to be able to show my worth and continue where I left off at Arsenal]”, he said.

“The way they welcomed me, the gaffer trusted me from the very first day playing me against Sheffield United.

“He could have said you need time to settle and then play later on in the season. But he played me in the first game of the season, and he trusted me. And when somebody trusts me that much, I have to repay them with good performances.

“That’s what this club deserves. The best of Emi Martinez.”

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