• Premier League

Mannone wants to seal No. 1 spot

ESPN staff
September 20, 2012

Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone says he feels he has rewarded manager Arsene Wenger's faith in him, and is eager to further underline his claim for the No. 1 spot at the Gunners.

The Italian has been handed his opportunity to shine this season at Emirates, and has conceded just one goal in three appearances, keeping clean sheets against Stoke and Liverpool and impressing in the Champions League win over Montpellier.

"The boss knows that I have the kind of experience now to play and I think I have shown it in the three games I have played," he said.

"They were tough games away at Stoke and Liverpool. Even against Montpellier it wasn't easy because you come to opponents in the Champions League and you could see they really pushed hard towards the end.

"The boss told me, 'if you keep doing well, you are going to be ready'. That's what I am hoping for."

Mannone was handed his Champions League chance against the French side due to an injury to Wojciech Szczesny, and with the Polish goalkeeper still sidelined is set to start against Premier League champions Manchester City at the weekend.

Mannone says the credit for being prepared to challenge Szczesny must be given in part to a loan spell at Hull last season.

"I had a great spell last year [at Hull] where I learned how to be a No. 1 really," he explained. "When you have games every three days it is a big challenge because you need to recover well and prepare for the next one.

"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 found myself really well. I found a good club, good fans and gained experience. I played games as a No. 1 - 24 games in a row - and that's what I needed. It helped me going on to the pitch thinking 'Okay, I can be No. 1 now'."

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