Vito Mannone believes the time he spent away from Arsenal on loan is the reason why he is ready to take the chance in the Gunners first team afforded to him by the injury to Wojciech Szczesny, the
Mannone joined Championship side Hull City after enduring a torrid time in his brief Arsenal appearance last season, making mistakes in the Champions League against Olympiakos that threatened to bring an end to his Arsenal career.
But injuries to Szczesny and the club’s usual back-up goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, have meant that manager Arsene Wenger has turned to the Italian. And Mannone has rewarded Wenger’s faith with a series of fine performances, the latest coming against Montpellier in the Champions League on Tuesday, while also keeping two clean sheets so far this season.
Mannone did concede against the Ligue 1 champions in midweek but only from a penalty, converted Panenka-style by Younes Belhanda.
Having put that behind him, Mannone is keen to cement his position between the posts – even when Szczesny is finally fully fit. He said: “I am really focused at the moment and I want to do well when I get the chance. It’s going well so I am really focused on gaining the No.1 spot and keeping it.
“Every goalkeeper has his own path. I had mine. I had bad times and I just rolled up my sleeves and worked hard. Then, I thought, ‘Let’s go to Hull.’ I played games as a No.1 – 24 in a row – so that’s what I needed. It helped me going onto the pitch thinking, ‘OK, I can be a No.1 now.”
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