Former Arsenal star Jack Wilshere spoke on The Highbury Squad YouTube channel yesterday about Gabriel Martinelli.
The little Brazilian burst onto the scene under Unai Emery in 2019 and he became a huge hit. He is a massive fan favourite at the Emirates, and Arsenal fans were frustrated to see him on the bench more often than not last season.
Injuries really troubled Martinelli last term and Arteta was very cautious with him. The Gunners boss didn’t want to risk him at all until he was fully fit, but Arsenal fans’ frustrations increased when someone like Willian was picked ahead of him even after the youngster was back to full fitness.
Jack Wilshere: Arteta not using Gabriel Martinelli regularly surprised me
Wilshere was asked about Martinelli and the former Arsenal man admitted that he too was surprised to see the Brazilian play so less. However, he thinks that the 20-year-old is the real deal, and he believes that the youngster will only get better next season.
He said: “I was surprised at times when Arsenal needed a goal, they needed something and he wasn’t thrown on.
“He’s that type of player who can do that. He arrives in the box. He always seems to be in the right place, at the right time. You cannot teach them things. I feel he will only get better with the experience of playing in the big games, I do think he is a player who will thrive off having the fans back.
“I remember the game at Chelsea when he scored that goal. He just got better and better as the game went on and the fans got behind him. I am excited to see more of him.”
The Insider’s View:
Martinelli has started just five league games since the turn of the year. Arteta not rushing him back is understandable, but it was still frustrating to see one of our most exciting youngsters spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.
That has to change this season, but Martinelli is expected to miss the start of the campaign. He is currently away at the Olympics with the Brazilian national team, and he will likely go out on holiday once the competition ends.
Once he’s back and is fully fit, Arteta has to give Martinelli more opportunities. He offers us something completely different compared to the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and the rest, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him get a consistent run of games next term.