Gary Lineker says when Emi Martinez was at Arsenal ‘there were rumours’ that the England FA were looking to see if the Argentina World Cup winning star could represent the Three Lions.
The 30-year-old was a teenager when he came to England and he was signed up by the then-Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, where he was very rough around the edges and trying to make a name for himself in the Premier League.
From Oxford United to Wolves, Martinez spent several spells out on loan, including a few appearances in Arsenal’s first-team.
All throughout that period, he was never called up by Argentina, and he had to wait until he was in Aston Villa colours in 2020, before he coup rep his nation on the international stage.
But according to 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner Lineker, it could have been very different, as he told Match of the Day when Villa’s number one collected the Golden Glove award for his performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“He so deserves it (Golden Glove), the two penalty shootouts he has been the hero,” said Lineker. “He was playing for Oxford ten years ago.
“He was the Arsenal reserve goalkeeper for quite some time. I think there was a point where did break into the Arsenal team, where there were rumours and I don’t know how true, that the FA were looking to see if he could get a British passport because he had been in the country since he was very young, in which case, he could have perhaps played for England.”Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
Not only until Martinez hit his late 20s was he playing for Argentina, yet despite that seemingly late rise, he will go down as perhaps his nation’s greatest-ever keeper.
After only 26 games, he is a Copa America winner and a World Cup winner – winning three shootouts, including the most important of them all against France on Sunday.
A man for the BIG moments, Martinez talks the talk when the pressure moments arrive and it’s a big reason why Argentina are sitting as the champions of the world, right now.