Gabriel Agbonlahor has hailed Aston Villa star Emiliano Martinez as “the all-round perfect goalkeeper” after his display in their 1-0 win over Arsenal.
Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted he was “surprised” it has taken this long for the 28-year-old to find regular football in his career.
Martinez moved to Villa Park from Arsenal for a reported £17million fee in the summer after playing just 15 Premier League games for the Gunners in a 10-year spell.
The Argentina international has been an ever-present for Dean Smith’s side this season and has kept 11 clean sheets in 21 league games – only Manchester City’s Ederson has more.
Villa have conceded just 24 goals in the top-flight this term – the third-fewest behind league leaders Man City and Tottenham.
Asked whether he expected Martinez to have this sort of impact at Villa Park when he first arrived in September, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “To be fair I didn’t see much of him, just a few games for Arsenal.
“At first I thought it was a big fee for a goalkeeper of his age but ever since his first game I was so delighted to see his ability on the ball, his presence because he’s a big guy and his shot-stopping.
“He’s the all-round perfect goalkeeper. He can start counter-attacks with those long-range kicks he’s got.
“I’m just surprised it’s taken him this long to play regular football.”
Martinez played 38 games across all competitions for Arsenal including their 1-0 victory in last season’s FA Cup final.
He enjoyed loan spells Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Getafe and Reading while at the Gunners.