By Gabriel Agbonlahor

12th Oct, 2021 | 8:00pm

Aston Villa star 'one of five best in the world' after what I've heard from Messi - pundit

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world, according to Gabby Agbonlahor.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer and boyhood fan delivered his verdict after Lionel Messi lavished praise on his Argentina teammate.

Messi told Argentine outlet TNT, via talkSPORT, Martinez is “fundamental” and “one of the best goalkeepers in the world”.

The stopper, 29, only made his national team debut earlier this year but played a key role as Argentina won the Copa America this summer.

Asked for where Martinez ranks in the world, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “You’ve got to look at goalkeepers’ all-round skills.

“It’s different now, it’s not just about how good you are at saving shots, it’s about how good you are with your feet.

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“If we’re talking about being good with your feet, Ederson is the best. But he’s not the best at shot-stopping.

“For my keepers, I’d prefer them to be able to make the saves than be 10 out of 10 with their feet.

“Martinez is a great shot-stopper and great with his feet. He’s not Ederson with his feet but he’s more than good enough which is perfect.

“For me, I’d put him right up there as one of the top five in the world, definitely.

“He’s starting for Argentina, he’s playing every game. Messi is making these comments because he probably thinks they are building a team to be competitive at the World Cup. It’s not just about having good attacking players, they’ve now got better midfielders, defenders and a goalkeeper.

“They’ve probably been missing a top goalkeeper and that’s cost them over the years. Martinez showed in the Copa America having a top-class goalkeeper gives you more chance of winning these competitions.”

In other news, Kevin Phillips has been left ‘amazed at the progression’ of an Aston Villa target ‘from when I coached him’.