LONDON: Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez said leaving Arsenal to sign for the Birmingham-based Premier League outfit during the close season was a step up in his career. The 28-year-old spent 10 years at Arsenal and played only 39 first-team matches for them in all competitions, including 23 in the 2019-20 campaign filling in for the injured Bernd Leno, as they finished eighth in the league and lifted a 14th FA Cup. After moving to Villa in search of regular playing time, the Argentine has excelled as their number one by keeping four clean sheets in the league including one in his team’s 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. “When I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager’s ambitions, the club’s ambitions. I knew what a big club Villa is. People don’t realise how big it is,” Martinez told reporters. “They were all saying it was a step down in my career but I will always say it was a step up.” Villa climbed to sixth in the table heading into the international break with 15 points from seven games. “We’re going to have a really good season… I’ve said since day one my ambition is to be in Europe with Villa,” Martinez added. “I want to take this club as high as possible and I think we’re on the right path. Do I think it can be done this season? Yes. That’s the idea. That’s the wish. We have to work for it.” Villa will host Brighton & Hove Albion when league action resumes on Nov. 21.