Sheffield Wednesday: Martinez praises Kirkland

Damian Martinez has paid tribute to his rival Chris Kirkland for helping him to maintain his form.

Kirkland lost his Owls place to the on-loan keeper from Arsenal but is right behind him - even making a cup of tea for the Argentinian at half time of the Wigan game.

Damian Martinez appreciates encouragement from Chris Kirkland, above

Damian Martinez appreciates encouragement from Chris Kirkland, above

Martinez said: “We talk every day and train together; Chris encourages me to be ready, be sharp.

“He made me a cup of tea at half time to help me keep warm!

“He’s a real professional on and off the pitch. I train every day with the keepers; if you had a bad relationship, it would be really hard.

“If Chris was playing, I would wish him luck as well.”

Martinez however believes that he has earned his place and he says that he knew it would be hard to prise it away from Kirkland.

“He is an amazing goalkeeper; Terry Burton (Arsenal coach and former Wednesday assistant manager) told me Chris is really good, I would be on the bench and would have to play really well to get in. I think I have done that; the club gave me my chance and I think I am showing in every game I can be Sheffield Wednesday’s number one.”

Martinez and Owls boss Stuart Gray accept that it will be up to Arsenal whether or not his loan can be extended beyond its January 1 end but the 21-year-old has already told the Gunners that he wants to stay because he is playing regularly yet cannot expect a senior game at the Emirates Stadium.

The keeper sees home form as important in the Owls’ fight - starting with today’s game against Bournemouth.