Alex Runarsson says he’s inspired by Emi Martinez’s Arsenal story and intends to “work his arse off” in the hope of getting as much game time as possible.
In a recent interview with the Independent, Martinez, who signed for Aston Villa last month for £20 million after a decade as a Gunner, reflected on the day-to-day difficulties of staying motivated when, as a back-up keeper, you spend so much time in the shadows.
Ultimately, the Argentine got his reward; not just a big-money move but also the adoration of Arsenal fans following a stellar run in the first team that ended with silverware.
It’s a tale that has resonated with his replacement.
“I read an interview with him [Martinez] a couple of days ago and he said he came in as the ninth-choice goalkeeper, but he worked his arse off to become the first-choice at Arsenal after Leno’s injury,” Runarsson told Goal.com.
“Then, he makes a brilliant move to Aston Villa for £20m. That should inspire everyone, not just me. That’s my plan: to work my arse off, enjoy every minute of it and get as many games as possible.”
Runarsson arrives at Arsenal with the backing of keeper coach Inaki Cana. The Spaniard recommended the 25-year-old to Mikel Arteta and Edu having been impressed when the duo worked together at Danish side Nordsjaelland.
Since initial contact was made, it sounds like it’s been a bit of whirlwind for the Icelander.
“I spoke to everybody: Edu, Mikel and Inaki. They didn’t have to convince me too much but I wanted to hear what their plan was for me because I am at a prime age as a footballer,” he added.
“That was important to me that they were thinking the same way I was. It was amazing, the first call I got, I couldn’t believe it was really happening. Now, I am starting to get used to the idea that I am playing for such an amazing club.
“Everything happened fast. I did the medical and got on the train to Arsenal to finish the small details, sign and settle in. When you go into a big club then you need to settle as quickly as possible as they can’t afford any errors.”
“I know it is going to be hard but I will work for it for every minute and do what’s necessary to get as many games as possible. I think the only person I can rely on for this is myself, so I know that and I will try to do it.”