‘I Want to Play’: Bernd Leno Desperate for Game Time as He Discusses His Early Experience at Arsenal

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Bernd Leno has shared his thoughts on life at Arsenal under Unai Emery and his relationship with Petr Cech.

The Gunners’ search for a ball-playing goalkeeper, in lieu with Emery’s style of play, led them to sign German goalkeeper Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for £22.5m in the summer transfer window.

After three and a half months with the north London club, Leno has made just five appearances. However, in an interview with Arsenal’s official website, Leno revealed his joy in joining the Gunners: “I found out that Arsenal were interested in me. I was very excited and very nervous too because Arsenal is such a big club with a big history and great fans.”

Leno continued: “Playing in the Premier League was a very exciting prospect for me too, and fortunately I already knew a few of the players.”

The German international revealed that international teammates Mesut Özil and Shkodran Mustafi were influential in his decision to sign for Arsenal. He said: “I’ve known Musti for about 10 or 11 years because we grew up together in the youth national teams.

“Before I made my decision I talked to Musti and Mesut about it a lot. They both said that Arsenal is a big club and that I would love it here.”

Opening up on his relationship with Petr Cech, who he has often played second fiddle to this season, Leno was full of praise. He explained: “Things have started well here and everyone’s been very welcoming. 

“I think we had a great pre-season and I’ve really enjoyed working with Petr. He’s a big personality with a lot of experience and he’s also a very good guy. 

“I’ve got a lot of experience too, of course, but he has much more so I can learn from him.”

However, despite his harmonious relationship with Cech, Leno insists that he will fight to be Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper. He stated: “I want to play, I want to be the No 1 for the coach and I just want to improve for myself.”

After a slow start, which saw Arsenal lose their first two games against Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery’s side now find themselves on a nine-game winning streak in all competitions. 

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