ASTON Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is rated “very highly” by AFC Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola.

The Basque boss was speaking ahead of facing Martinez’s Villa side this weekend, Cherries travelling to Birmingham on Sunday (3pm).

A World Cup winner in 2022 with Argentina, the former Arsenal goalkeeper was back in the headlines during the week after his penalty saves – and gloating antics – against Lille.

The Argentine stopped two spot-kicks to book Villa’s spot in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

And Iraola believes Cherries must be at their most clinical to beat the Argie keeper.

Asked how he rated the Argentinian international, Iraola replied: “Very highly. I don't know if he’s the best, the second best, but he's very good.

“Very, very good. I think he's making the difference.

“This week, we've been watching the game we played against them here.

“He made amazing saves. Amazing saves.

“A couple of very close ones to Dom with the quick reactions.

“And he's making the difference.

“I think he has also a strong personality. He's very complete. He's good on positioning, very calm, very good shot stopper. But he's world champion. You know this is his level.

“I think he has been really consistent in the performances.

“We have to be about our best.

“Our strikers have to be very, very precise. If you want to score, everyone has to win difficult duels because at the end of the season, after 32, 33 games it’s not just a causality that they are there in fourth spot.

“No, they are very, very good team, very, very solid.

“A lot of different options. They have their system and they do it very well.”