The Argentine is certain that he can be the answer to Arsene Wenger's latest conundrum, after Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski both suffered fresh injury setbacksEXCLUSIVE
By Sebastian Fernandez Castano
Argentine youngster Damian Martinez is hoping that he can solve Arsenal's goakeeping crisis after Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski both suffered fresh injury setbacks.
As Goal.com revealed on Wednesday, the Polish No.1 has been wearing a protective boot for around 10 days as he steps up his recovery from the ankle injury which has kept him out for month but he is still two to three weeks away from a return to training.
Fabianski, meanwhile, will be out for up to three months after he ruptured his ankle ligaments in training on Tuesday just weeks away from his first-team comeback.
Arsene Wenger is likely to stick with 24-year-old Vito Mannone but Martinez is hoping that he can capitalise on his team-mates' ill fortune.
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"[At Norwich City on Saturday] I think I'm going to be on the bench, but the possibility of playing from the start is always there. I'm prepared for that.
"I have shown that I can play at the top level even at my age. It is the manager's decision and I have to wait for that moment to come. Despite the fact that I've just turned 20, I think I'm progressing well and I'm taking solid steps forward. I hope to keep playing here."
Wenger is known for placing his trust in youth - indeed, he entrusted Szczesny with the No.1 position in his early 20s - and Martinez has nothing but admiration for the French manager.
"Wenger is a great manager, very professional and very demanding, but he also gives youngsters a lot of freedom. He treats every player the same. I have a lot of admiration for him as a manager and as a person," he continued.
"I have been working here for the last three years and I'm in a great mood. I play like I've always played, only here pitches are different and football is faster, but my job is the same and I have to defend my goal."
Martinez was rewarded for his consistency with first-team squad call-ups against Shrewsbury and Leeds last season, although he did not feature in either match, and finally made his first-team bow in the 6-1 demolition over Coventry City in the League Cup this campaign.
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"The League Cup is important. Arsenal lost the final two seasons ago. In two weeks we have to play Reading in that competition.
"Leaving Independiente was tough, all my friends were there. I played four years there. It was difficult but I wanted to build my career in Europe at one of the best clubs in the world. Luckily for me, I didn't get it wrong. I'm seeing the results now and I want more.
"I left when I was very young, without having the chance to play for Independiente in the First Division, but before I retire, I'm going to return to the club that gave me everything."
Martinez was an ever-present in the youth setup at international level and was even been called up by former Argentina manager Sergio Batista to represent the senior squad, although he is yet to make his debut.
"Oscar Ustari got injured and they called me up as an emergency replacement," the youngster recalled.
"The Premier League season was over and I was on vacation at home. They called me up to play against Poland and Nigeria. Everything happened very fast but it was beautiful too. Being considered to play for your country is always a great thing.
"I know, playing for Arsenal, I'm going to get more chances to play for Argentina. That's why I have to work hard here and one day, Alejandro Sabella will see me."