Now in his fourth season at Arsenal, Matt Macey has had to work extremely hard to get to his current stage, but the 23-year-old will be wary that there is still some way to go if he to achieve his ultimate aim of being the club’s first-choice shot-stopper.
Via loan spells at Accrington Stanley and Luton Town, as well as many appearances for Arsenal at youth level and involvement in first-team training sessions, Macey has improved significantly since joining the club.
Arsenal have certainly recognised his development as it was announced this week that he has signed a new deal – a clear sign that he is likely to become increasingly involved with the senior squad in due course.
After years of waiting, Macey finally made his competitive Arsenal first-team debut in the Carabao Cup tie against Norwich City in October and followed that impressive display up by keeping a clean sheet in the Europa League game at home to Red Star Belgrade.
Macey is a much more reliable presence in goal than he was previously and he has also become increasingly vocal in terms of issuing instructions to his team-mates.
Although David Ospina and Emiliano Martinez (who has yet to make a league appearance on loan at Getafe) are still ahead of him as back-up to Petr Cech, Macey will hope to officially become part of the first-team squad in due course.
There is a possibility that he could head out on loan again, perhaps in January, and playing regularly for a League One club would be hugely beneficial for him especially as first-team opportunities at Arsenal are likely to be limited, with Ospina set to play in the remaining Europa League games.
Macey still has some aspects of his game which require improvement, including his distribution, while he can also struggle when placed under sustained pressure, but he has made significant strides and deserves much credit just for getting to this point.
Arsenal have several other young goalkeepers on their books at U23 level, including Deyan Iliev, Ryan Huddart and Hugo Keto, but if Macey continues to progress then it will be difficult for any of them to get a look in with regards to the first-team.