Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Michael Brown has lauded goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as an “unsung hero” for Aston Villa despite shelling three goals against Leeds United last night. 

The former Leeds and Tottenham midfielder, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the goalkeeper’s ability with his feet has allowed Dean Smith’s men to play out from the back with more confidence.

The 28-year-old, who joined Villa from Arsenal this summer, started Friday night’s clash against Leeds United to keep up his run as an ever-present in the league this season.

But he was forced to pick the ball out of his net on three occasions as Marcelo Bielsa’s side tore the home side apart with a deserved 3-0 win.

It ended Villa’s winning run this season and lifted the visitors to third in the table, one place behind Dean Smith’s side.

Brown believes that Martinez’s impact may have gone unnoticed by some and that the Argentinian shot-stopper has allowed Villa to play a more positive style of football.

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Brown told Football Insider: “He has been their unsung hero, hasn’t he? He’s impressed.

“Just looking at the results their getting, the difference and where they are, the style’s slightly changed. They know Martinez is comfortable with his feet so we’ve seen them moving it around with more confidence. 

“He’s obviously set that style up, he feels it is the way to go and Martinez seems to be confident, he’s obviously been drilled in doing that sort of setup, as we know, and I think he’s comfortable with it.”

Martinez arrived in England with Arsenal back in 2010 but he made just 38 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners.

He is joined by the likes of Jed Steer, Lovre Kalinic and long-term injury absentee Tom Heaton as Dean Smith’s senior goalkeeping options.

In other Aston Villa news, Brown suggests that Smith will be hurting after a major midfielder reveal at Villa Park.