Bernd Leno believes the Premier League is the best in the world — and he reckons this is the case simply by how long he needs to focus in every game.
German keeper Leno has been hugely impressive as the Gunners custodian since his arrival last summer from Bayer Leverkusen when he penned a five-year contract for a fee of £22.5million.
He has been manager Unai Emery’s first choice keeper for the majority of the campaign — with Petr Cech, who is retiring from the game at the end of the season, as back-up.
Leno’s solid displays have helped Arsenal mount a challenge for a top four spot in the Premier League. They face a battle with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur to grab third or fourth, with Liverpool and Manchester City vying for positions one and two. Emery’s men grabbed another vital three points towards their haul on Monday when they saw off the challenge from Newcastle United with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alex Lacazette.
Leno and his team-mates go again on Sunday when they travel to Merseyside to face Everton at Goodison Park before they prepare for a Europa League quarter final tie against Napoli at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
And Leno has lifted the lid on his experiences to date since his switch to the Gunners. He told the club’s official website: “It’s difficult to go to another country and another league. The Premier League is completely different to the Champions League and Bundesliga. Everything is stronger but we analysed everything so I could get used to it. After a few weeks I was familiar with the football.
“The biggest challenge is that every game is so difficult for 95 minutes. In the Bundesliga, if you’re 2-0 or 3-0 up then the game is over. But in the PL, when you’re 2-0 or 3-0 up the game is still alive for the opposition. The speed of the game is higher than everywhere and that’s the reason why it’s the best league in the world.
“Coupled with that, the life of a goalkeeper is not easy. One day you are good, one day you are very bad. But you have to be very strong in your head and mind. This pushes every goalkeeper and keeps them focused at all times.”
Meanwhile, the keeper says he is happy that he has the backing of Arsenal supporters no doubt hoping that with the climax to the campaign on the horizon they will provide the extra support needed to help Emery’s troops’ bid for success.
He added: “Each player wants to have good support from the fans. We all need the fans, me too, and it’s good to hear that fans like me or like the way that I play. I want to perform each game very well. But mostly I want to make sure the fans are happy as well.”