Martinez facing two games in 36 hours after Villa strike Argentina agreement

Emiliano Martinez is desperate to play in Argentina’s three World Cup qualifiers later this month and then jet back to the UK to play for Aston Villa against Wolves – all in the space of 36 hours

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Dean Smith has revealed Emiliano Martinez will attempt another mad dash to play in goal for Aston Villa this month after hailing his commitment.

Former Arsenal shot-stopper Martinez recorded his third clean sheet in five games this term in last weekend’s memorable 1-0 win at Manchester United.

He has also emerged as Argentina’s No.1 after helping them to the Copa America trophy this summer.

This month Martinez is scheduled to play three World Cup qualifiers for his country.

These include against Peru in the early hours of Friday October 15 before flying straight back to the UK to play for Villa against Wolves just 36 hours later on the 16th.

Emi Martinez is prepared to play two games in 36 hours

Smith says government rules on stars flying in from red-list countries are due to be updated soon which will enable Martinez to pull off the hectic itinerary.

In the last international break in South America, Martinez trained in Croatia on his return to avoid UK quarantine before jetting back to play against Everton.

Smith said: “He flew back from Croatia the day before the Everton game.

“He played well enough in that game so we certainly know he can do that.

“I believe they’re very close now to come up with a bespoke sporting arrangement where players can go and play for their respective countries ,which we’re very supportive of, but come back then from one bubble to another and go and play for our clubs as well.

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“We’re very close to an agreement on that.”

Martinez,29, was superb last term but is now on track to better last season’s haul of 15 shut-outs ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Spurs.

Smith reckons the shot-stopper, signed from Arsenal in September 2020 for £17million, is highly motivated after only making 11 Premier League starts in his nine years with the Gunners from August 2011.

Smith added: “He has not played a ton of Premier League games.

“That was probably his first full season with us in the Premier League last season.

“I think he is making up for lost time of not having that experience.

“His progression has been there for all to see.

Martinez has been in fine form for Aston Villa this season

“We are really pleased.

“He went away in the summer and won the Copa America.

“If you had asked him 12 months ago he probably wouldn’t have envisaged seeing himself do that.

“He is lapping it all up at the moment and enjoying it.

“He wants to do well and has a confidence about him that spreads throughout the dressing room.

“There is a collective thought and pleasure in keeping clean sheets at the moment throughout the squad.

“That is obviously led by the goalkeeper as keepers love keeping clean sheets.

“At the moment we have three centre backs and they equally take that pleasure in keeping clean sheets.

“It is spreading throughout the group.”

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