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Mannone hoping he's proved worth to Wenger

Young goalkeeper Vito Mannone feels he has done everything possible to give manager Arsene Wenger a selection headache when the Arsenal squad return after the international break.

The 21-year-old Italian has stood in for Manuel Almunia since he was laid low by a chest infection, and produced a number of impressive displays - most notably keeping out the Fulham attack at Craven Cottage.

But with both Almunia and Poland international Lukas Fabianski - sidelined so far this season by a knee problem - set to be in contention when the Gunners resume against Birmingham at Emirates Stadium on October 17, Mannone could well find himself down the pecking order once again.

The former Atalanta goalkeeper - with his only other first-team appearance on the final day of last season against Stoke - intends to do all he can to stay in Wenger's thoughts.

"I am really happy with my five games,'' said Mannone in the Islington Gazette. "It was difficult at the beginning, but I have shown I can play. I have learned a huge amount. I can feel it inside myself how much I have learned and hope people can see I have improved too.

"I did my job and now it is up to the boss. I did what I had to do. I know I have a long way to go, but I will stay focused in training and improve and see what happens.''

As well as Fabianski's imminent return to fitness, Wenger also hopes France winger Samir Nasri will soon be available as his rehabilitation after a broken leg has gone well.


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