We all have been extremely impressed with Emi Martinez since he was forced into Arsenal’s starting XI when Bernd Leno got injured against Brighton.
He was plucked of just 18 from Argentina, soon after his birthday in fact due to regulations on signing under-18 players from outside of Europe, and joined up with our youth sides initially.
Almost two years after joining he was granted a route into the first-team squad, but despite impressing in his limited appearances, he has remained as either back-up, third-choice, or sent out on loan in order to gain experience.
Today is his chance to become a hero however, having thoroughly earned his place between the sticks after a number of highly impressive outings following the loss of Bernd Leno to injury, and one more big performance could well open the door for him to overthrow the German as number one going into the new season.
Martinez has now revealed how much it means to him to have the chance to play in the final for Arsenal, who has become such a big part of his life.
Emi told Arsenal FC: “It was a bit emotional [when the final whistle went in the semi-final],” Martinez said. “Not because we beat City, who for me are one of the best teams in Europe right now, but more because of how much I have been fighting to play in a final with the club I love.
“It has been 10 years since I joined the club and at the final whistle everything goes through your head. I wish the fans and my family would be here for the final, obviously with 90,000 or 80,000 people in Wembley, something you don’t play every day.
“I wish my whole family was there [on Saturday]. Like I said, we came from a poor, poor family and for them to see me there winning a trophy in front of 90,000 people and getting a medal would be something.
“I remember for my Champions League debut against Anderlecht, [my Dad] flew 27 hours to reach that game and he was crying all 95 minutes!” he added.
“I am so far away from home. Because of lockdown, I have not seen my mum and dad for a year. It will be tough, but I will be thinking about them when I play.
“I remember the day that me and my brother ate and not my mum and dad. So I know exactly what they’ve been through. I was living in Buenos Aires and I would only see them twice a month, when I travelled, because they couldn’t afford the petrol to go and see me. So I know what they did for me to reach the top where I am now.”
Will Martinez show his true worth today? Is there a chance he could be Arsenal’s number one next term?