Mikel Arteta urges Gabriel Martinelli to give him a selection headache but Arsenal boss admits Gunners’ forward options make it ‘difficult’ to give teenager a run in the side
- Mikel Arteta has urged Gabriel Martinelli to make his selection decisions difficult
- Arsenal boss says it’s tough to give minutes due to number of forward players
- Brazilian teenager has been an unused substitute in last five league matches
- Martinelli returned in December after six months out due to a knee injury
Mikel Arteta has called on Gabriel Martinelli to give him a selection problem but admitted Arsenal’s strength in depth makes it difficult to give the teenager an extended run in the team.
The Brazilian has struggled for minutes in recent weeks, and has been an unused substitute in each of the Gunners’ last five Premier League matches.
A knee injury meant that Martinelli had to wait until December to make his first appearance of the season, and he started three matches in a week over Christmas against Manchester City, Chelsea and Brighton.
Mikel Arteta has told Gabriel Martinelli to make his selection decisions as Arsenal boss difficult
The Brazilian teenager has been an unused substitute in Arsenal’s last five league matches
But although he has made just one start in the league since, his manager continues to speak positively about the impact the 19-year-old can have at Arsenal when the time is right.
‘Well, he needs to keep working and making it difficult for us,’ Arteta said.
‘He is a player that is going to give us a lot, but we need some time to find the right games for him and the right connections with him on the pitch so that he can do what he does best.
‘But the way he is and the way he trains every day, he is going to be a really important player for us, no doubt.
Arteta admitted that the number of forward options at Arsenal make it difficult for Martinelli
‘But, when you have many options, it is difficult when you look for certain qualities in certain games.’
While this campaign has been largely disrupted by injury, Martinelli enjoyed an impressive debut season in North London after his £6m move from Brazilian side Ituano in July 2019.
He scored ten times for Arsenal last season, often playing as a striker in the group stages of Arsenal’s Europa League campaign.
After finally returning to action this season, there were fears he may have suffered another serious injury when he twisted his ankle in the warm-up ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup match with Newcastle in January.
Fortunately for the Gunners it turned out not to be as serious as it looked, but there has been a cautiousness in the way Arteta has used Martinelli since and with Arsenal’s forward line seemingly hitting better form in recent weeks, the Brazilian has found himself slipping down the pecking order at the club.
Martinelli scored ten times in his first season at England but injury has disrupted him since
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