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Leno to make Arsenal debut in Europa League opener

Arsenal's goalkeeper Bernd Leno will make his competitive debut in the Europa League on Thursday
Arsenal's goalkeeper Bernd Leno will make his competitive debut in the Europa League on Thursday Arsenal's goalkeeper Bernd Leno will make his competitive debut in the Europa League on Thursday AFP
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London (AFP)

Bernd Leno has been challenged to make the Arsenal goalkeeper's jersey his own after Unai Emery confirmed the German will make his debut against Vorskla Poltava on Thursday.

Leno is yet to feature for Arsenal since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season.

Petr Cech has played every minute in goal under new Arsenal manager Emery so far.

But former Chelsea star Cech has not been without his critics as he has struggled to adapt to Emery's demands to play out from the back.

Leno is more adept with the ball at his feet and Emery has confirmed the 26-year-old will get his first outing as the Europa League campaign begins at the Emirates Stadium.

Asked if Leno would be in the team, Emery said: "Yes. He is going to play in the starting line-up.

"In our planning with our goalkeeper we have spoken with Javi Garcia, the goalkeeping coach. We need with Leno to give him a chance and the minutes of the game."

Several clubs -- including Arsenal under Arsene Wenger -- have used the Europa League and other cup competitions as a way to rotate their goalkeepers, but Emery insists Leno will not be limited to a fringe role if he does well.

"The first decision for me every match is the performance," Emery said.

"Tomorrow we are going to play Leno but each match we are going to look at each performance and each preparation to continue playing. But not to give him or Petr or (Emiliano) Martinez one competition to play.

"They are going to start tomorrow to give him the minutes and the chances in this competition, but they are going to continue looking and testing every match."

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