Bernd Leno never feared for his future as Arsenal's No 1

Mike McGrath
·2-min read
Bernd Leno always had confidence he would keep the No 1 jersey at Arsenal - Reuters
Bernd Leno always had confidence he would keep the No 1 jersey at Arsenal - Reuters

Bernd Leno insisted he never feared for his future as Arsenal's No 1 despite uncertainty over his position this summer. 

The Germany international, 28, was battling to be first choice with Emiliano Martinez, who helped win the FA Cup last season and the Community Shield a month ago, only for a £20 million deal to be struck with Aston Villa. 

Leno says he proved his position at the club with his penalty shootout saves from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson at Anfield to send his club into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.  

“I never feared it because the club always gave me the feeling that I was the No 1, I am the No 1 and I will be the No 1,” said Leno. “That was always very good from the club and my job is to prove it every week and I think I have done it again.” 

After a goalless 90 minutes, Joe Willock scored the winning penalty after Leno’s saves. Mohamed Elneny missed the first spot-kick to give Liverpool hope before momentum shifted towards Arsenal. It meant a cup victory three days after losing in the Premier League to Jurgen Klopp’s team. 

“It’s not easy but we made changes, fresh blood in the team,” said Leno. “Of course it is not easy to come to the same place after a big disappointment because we expected more on Monday but we analysed the game and the manager found the right words to keep our heads up and you could see that in the game.” 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the offer for Martinez will allow him to invest in his squad.

“They were both playing really well but we had to make a decision,” Arteta said. “Emi needed the next step and financially it was a really interesting proposal for us and we need to manage the resources that we have to strengthen the team.”