Emiliano Martinez says he feels vindicated by his decision to join Championship side Reading on loan in January.
The Argentine has played nine times for the Royals, producing a couple of man of the match performances as they fend off the threat of relegation.
The 26-year-old only featured once for the Gunners in the first half of the season – a 1-0 win against Qarabag in the Europa League – but revealed at the time of his move to the Madejski that the club wants him as back-up to Bernd Leno next season when Petr Cech retires and David Ospina leaves.
In an extensive interview, first published in the Reading programme, Martinez said: “When I stayed at Arsenal, they promised me games but in five months, I’ve been training well, I had the whole of pre-season – had amazing games in pre-season, so I thought I would have a chance. But when you have 20 games and you’re only involved in one, I had to go out and get some games.
“I had some offers from abroad but Reading came along. I had a new-born baby, I know the league, I know the club, obviously Sal Bibbo was my coach at Arsenal [previously Reading] and said this was a great club for me – that likes to play from the back, which suits my style.
“Now, my decision is paying off. Sometimes in football you can make wrong decisions, I feel like Reading suits me but it’s not over yet, we’ve still got 10 games left and we need to get more wins – but we’re on the right path.
“When I came here, what surprised me is how good the players are. It was a big challenge for me, going to a team that’s in the relegation zone in the Championship you’d think the squad might be broken, maybe the players fight in the dressing room, but you don’t want to get into that and not be comfortable in your work.
“But it surprised me, how the players are. It’s a really friendly club, everyone’s smiling, and I wondered how this club could have players this good and be in the relegation zone. We’d only lost one in seven games, then at Sheffield United we conceded after 40 seconds, so it would have been a different game if that ball wasn’t going in. We’re doing good things.”
Martinez, who has three years left on his contract, has previously undertaken loan spells at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves and Getafe.