Boss Steve Evans says Rotherham United loan goalkeeper Emi Martinez is so good he could be playing against Champions League winners Real Madrid next season.
The 22-year-old Arsenal ace, brought in when regular keeper Adam Collin suffered a dip in form, has proved to be one of the Millers’ best signings of the season.
He is with the club to the end of the Championship, and Evans believes the big time beckons for the Argentine stopper after that.
“I think he’s been great for us. We’re going to be watching Emi on Match of the Day in six to eight months and then for a number of years as Arsenal’s number one,” the Millers manager said.
“I know for a fact he has a couple of clubs in the top division in Spain wanting to take him on season-long loans. It wouldn’t surprise me then that if we’re not seeing him in the Premier League we’ll be seeing him against Barcelona and Real Madrid. That’s how well he’s regarded.”
Martinez has already appeared in the Premier League and in the Champions League for the Gunners, but Evans warned he must maintain the high standards he has set since his debut against Sheffield Wednesday last month if he is to remain Millers first choice.
Collin has proved in the past he has the character to come back from setbacks and regain his place, and Evans said: “Adam sits there on the bench and will be hurting. Emi has to keep his performances right or Adam will go back in.
“Adam lost his shirt before to Scott Shearer but he saw him away and the same happened with Scott Loach earlier this season.”
The Football League ruling on the charge against the Millers of fielding an ineligible player is expected to be known by the time the club face Norwich on Saturday at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has been recalled from his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers after last week’s return of Conor Sammon to Derby County.