Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was asked why Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t been playing regularly recently.
After starting three games in a row in the Premier League, the young Brazilian has played just twice in the next seven games. He was subbed off at half-time against Manchester United and was given just eight minutes of action against Newcastle.
The youngster is one of our brightest prospects. His energy on the pitch is infectious and his potential is boundless. Martinelli can become one of the best players in the world, but he will need to play regularly for that.
Arsenal fans have been frustrated over his lack of chances in recent weeks, and Arteta has revealed why he has been keeping Martinelli away.
Arteta: Martinelli broke down
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “Well, he came back and did really well, but then he picked up another injury. It took him a while to come and now it’s about getting in his rhythm and getting his place in the team like anybody else.
“Don’t forget that we played him last time against Manchester United and he started ahead of other players, so it’s not like he’s not having the opportunities. We know that he’s got a huge potential and he’s done some really good things since he’s come back.
“Gabi has a lot of things to develop in his game because of course at his age it’s normal. He came here from a different league and physically it’s much more demanding than the Spanish league.
“He got injured, he wanted to get back, he got back and then he got injured again, so his rhythm has been in and out, he hasn’t had a pre-season and he hasn’t had the type of that is needed for such a change.
“Then it’s probably anxiety from being so willing to do well and to feel important because he’s a big signing. All those things add up and he broke down again, so we have to be patient now and he needs to recover properly because he’s going to be key for us.”
Arsenal Insider’s view
Injuries really have been cruel on Martinelli. The little Brazilian took the Premier League by storm in his debut campaign and he became an instant fan favourite.
Arsenal supporters want him to play every single game but Arteta is right to be careful with him. Martinelli has to come back to his physical best before he can be given a consistent run of games.
The Europa League is just around the corner and Martinelli is likely to start against Benfica. If he can perform at his best there, Arteta will have no choice but start him regularly in the league as well.