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‘Leno is Player of the Year contender and unfairly criticised’ – Seaman defends Arsenal keeper

13:35 GMT 05/03/2020
Bernd Leno Arsenal 2019-20
The legendary former Gunners No.1 is a big fan of the Germany international currently between the posts at Emirates Stadium

Bernd Leno is a Player of the Year contender at Arsenal, says David Seaman, with the Germany international goalkeeper having faced unfair criticism from outside of north London.

The Gunners moved to land a long-term No.1 back in the summer of 2018 when doing a £22.5 million ($29m) deal with Bayer Leverkusen.

Leno has become the established last line of defence at Emirates Stadium, but has faced questions at times over the costly mistakes which have a habit of creeping into his game.

Seaman considers that to come with the territory of being a keeper, with the Arsenal legend of the opinion that the 28-year-old is better than many give him credit for.

“He’s been criticised, but you do,” said the Gunners great.

“Being a goalkeeper, you make mistakes and you do get criticised.

“I saw a stat saying he’d made the most mistakes or whatever, but he made a lot of saves in those games as well.

“A lot of people have been talking about him as Player of the Season at Arsenal because he’s had a lot to do, which is surprising for an Arsenal team because we’re normally really good at defending. But that just shows where we are at the moment.”

Arsenal are considered to be in the midst of a long-term rebuilding project, with the responsibility of overseeing that having been passed on to former club captain Mikel Arteta.

Seaman hopes to see the Spaniard given time to get things right and money to spend in upcoming transfer windows.

He added: “[Arteta] can’t get players in now. He will try to revitalise them, but he’s coaching them now.

“It’s not like you can go in and change it overnight. He needs a lot of time to coach and he will do that.

“I like him as a manager, I like what he says and, from what I’ve heard on the training ground, it’s really good as well.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of a longer process than what a lot of people thought.

“In the summer, or at the end of the season when the transfer window opens, it’s going to be a big test for Arsenal as to who comes in and who goes out.”

Seaman added on the challenges facing Arsenal, who sit 10th in the Premier League and have crashed out of the Europa League at the last-32 stage: “Even getting top five is going to be a big ask this season because confidence now is really low.

“We need to start giving the fans something to cheer about because, at the moment, it’s hard to watch Arsenal.”

The Gunners will be back in action on Saturday when they take in a home date with London rivals West Ham.