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'It gave me confidence': Leno shares what Arteta told him before Arsenal sold Emi Martinez

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s decision to keep hold of Bernd Leno over Emiliano Martinez last summer completely divided the fan base.

The Argentine stepped in for Leno when the German suffered a season-ending injury against Brighton last season. Martinez surprised everyone and played a massive role in helping us win the FA Cup and the Community Shield.

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Leno was back from his injury for the start of this season and that put Arteta in a difficult position. Both keepers wanted the number one role, and it would’ve been impossible to keep both of them happy at the club.

Arsenal had to let go of one of them and Martinez, unfortunately, was shown the door. That angered many fans as they felt that Argentine had done more than Leno had to earn that number one spot.

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Arteta disagreed and that decision is still a hot topic every time Leno makes a mistake. The German was asked about his manager’s decision, and he claimed that the Gunners boss always told him that he was the club’s number one.

Leno: Arteta always told me I was No 1

Leno said, as per Arsenal.com: “It gave me confidence but it was not a big decision because the manager and also the club said all the time that they count on me, that I am the No 1 and will be the No 1.

“It didn’t matter what happened. Even if they expected it would have been a bigger injury, they told me to be calm and that they build around me, so, not to worry. That’s always a good sign from the club, that they can rely on you.

“It gave me a lot of confidence and I’m very thankful to the club that they helped me a lot.”

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The Insider’s View:

The Martinez vs Leno debate will never end. Every time one of them makes the headlines, fans of the other will bring it up.

The reality is, Arsenal had to let go of one of them. Martinez was the only one who had an offer from another club last summer, and that made Arteta’s decision a lot easier, especially as we were in need of money from player sales.

Leno stayed put and nobody can deny the fact that he is a fantastic goalkeeper. He has saved us time and time again since he joined us in 2018, and Arsenal fans should be content with who we have in goal – even if they are huge Emi Martinez supporters.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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