Emiliano Martinez has looked back at finally getting a sustained run in the Arsenal first-team 10 years after he joined the Gunners as a 17-year-old.
The Argentinean got his chance to play for the club during the last Premier League restart after Bernd Leno got injured in the first few games back.
The German’s injury lasted for the rest of the season and Martinez ensured that Arsenal didn’t miss him.
The Argentinean emerged as one of the Gunners’ best players towards the end of the season and he helped them win the FA Cup, starring in wins against Manchester City and Chelsea.
He is expecting to be given the chance to stake a claim for himself as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper in the coming season even though Leno has the trust of the manager.
He was speaking about his breakthrough at the Emirates recently and he claimed that the injury to Leno was a turning point in his career.
The 27-year-old told AS as quoted by the Sun: “This has been the best year of my career, but it is not easy to fulfil your dreams.
“I arrived at Arsenal in 2010, and had five spells out on loan – plus another one with Oxford where I played just once.
“It honestly wasn’t easy for me. I found it hard, and suffered more than I should.
“The last loan spell, at Reading, was the one I enjoyed most. The manager, Jose Gomes, put a lot of faith in me and helped me develop.
“But now I can say that all the effort has been worthwhile.”
Continuing with the AS interview, he added: “The fact I have returned to Arsenal so many times is because they continued to believe I could become their No.1 goalkeeper.
“Had they told me: ‘Look, you’ve no future here,’ I’d have gone to another club.
“But now I have achieved what I wanted – and I want to continue being successful with Arsenal.
“Bernd Leno’s injury has changed my career. Other great goalkeepers – such as Iker Casillas – have got their big opportunities when the first-choice keeper was injured.
“You have to be prepared for when you are called on.
“I hope to continue with Arsenal in the new season. That is my idea – although obviously I want to be in the first team.
“My dream is to play as many Premier League games as possible – and also to play for Argentina.”