Villa Park news: Lionel Messi delivers massive boost for £31.5m Aston Villa star

Lionel Messi in action for Argentina against Uruguay

Lionel Messi's praise of Emiliano Martinez will have come as a "massive boost" to the Aston Villa goalkeeper, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.

What has Messi said about Martinez?

Martinez is currently on international duty after being called up by Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni at the end of last month.

Argentina team-mate Messi has heaped praise on the Villa man who joined Dean Smith's side from Premier League rivals Arsenal in a £20million deal last year.

Messi has claimed Martinez is "one of the best goalkeepers in the world" after following up a shut-out against Paraguay by keeping another clean sheet against Uruguay.

It is not just Messi who rates Martinez highly as he has also been nominated for the 2021 Lev Yashin Award, meaning he is in the race to be crowned the world's best shot-stopper.

Martinez is on the 10-man shortlist after making six appearances at the Copa America, with him playing a key role as Argentina got their hands on the trophy.

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What has Luke Hatfield said about Martinez?

Hatfield believes Messi's high praise will have increased Martinez's confidence ahead of returning to Villa Park.

The journalist believes the custodian's inclusion on the shortlist for the Lev Yashin Award shows Martinez should be regarded as one of the best in his position.

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Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: "It is a massive boost for Emi. He obviously left Arsenal saying that he wanted to nail down that number one spot for Argentina and he's really followed through with that.

"It says a lot when one of the best players of all-time is telling you that you're one of the best goalkeepers on the planet.

"Frankly, he's been at that level. He has been nominated for the Lev Yashin Award and he's doing everything right. He has just been superb for Villa."

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How has Martinez performed this season?

Martinez, who is valued at £31.5million by Transfermarkt, has missed just one Premier League fixture so far this season.

He was unable to feature in the clash with Chelsea after heading out on international duty with Argentina last month.

However, he will not encounter the same problem this time around and Villa boss Smith has confirmed Martinez is desperate to play in the Premier League derby against Wolverhampton Wanderers just 36 hours after representing his country in a World Cup qualifier against Peru.

The international fixture was due to take place in the early hours of this morning, while Villa host Wolves tomorrow at 3pm.

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