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Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg explains why Gabriel Martinelli is 'very special'

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Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg has heaped praise on Gabriel Martinelli after the Brazilian scored a 91st-minute winner against Crystal Palace last night.

The teenager hasn’t really had the kind of game time that he would’ve liked in recent months. Mikel Arteta has been very protective of Martinelli, but his performance off the bench last night showed that he is ready to step up.

Ljungberg knows Martinelli very well. He spent a lot of time with the young Brazilian at London Colney, and the former Arsenal coach has predicted that the youngster will score many more goals than people actually think he will in the coming years.

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Freddie Ljungberg: Gabriel Martinelli will score more goals than you think

He said on BT Sport after the game last night: “He’s very special and he’s a lovely boy as well. You hear how he speaks. Of course, he’s disappointed he’s not starting, it’s been a while. He does so well but he’s saying I’m always ready when he (Arteta) wants me and it’s a dream for a manager to have.

“He has that instinct, he just gets there and he reads it so well. It’s not what you learn in a book. He has that feeling and he will score a lot of goals in his career. I’m extremely excited about him, he’s not what you see every day, he has that feeling when he goes and something different happens.

“He’ll score more goals than you maybe think he will score. I remember last season, great headers, and there were all kinds of goals from him it’s more about his intuition and where he wants to be and they [fans] should be excited.”

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The Insider’s View:

Martinelli is a really special player, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. The young Brazilian is destined for greatness, but all of us have to understand why Arteta has been so protective of him.

We all know how the media will react if Martinelli has a couple of bad performances. The Brazilian shouldn’t be exposed to that this early in his career, and Arteta is right to make sure that he is protected.

However, it’s now time for the Arsenal boss to loosen his grip a little bit. The composure Martinelli showed to put the ball into the back of the net last night really was world-class, and that would’ve given him a ton of confidence.

Arsenal will take on Brighton on Sunday and that will surely be an open game. That is exactly the type of fixture in which Martinelli would thrive. Hopefully, Arteta gives him a chance from the start in front of the home fans.

Read more: Ljungberg shares what ‘awkward’ Arsenal star would do ‘every day’ in training

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