Mikel Arteta has claimed Gabriel Martinelli needs to make it difficult for him as he urged the Brazilian to keep working hard.
The youngster was once again an unused sub as Arsenal came back from 1-0 down to beat Leicester City 3-1 in the Premier League.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Spaniard gave his support to the former Ituano man as he discussed the injury suffered by the 19-year-old last year.
Arteta said: “He needs to keep working and make things difficult for us. He’s a player who is going to give us a lot but he needs some time and we need to find the right games for him, the right connections with him on the pitch to do what he can do best.”
“The way he is and the way he trains every day he’s going to be a really important player for us. When you have many options sometimes it’s difficult when you look for certain qualities in certain games.” (via football.london)
The curious case of Martinelli carries on into another week. After proving to be one of Arsenal brightest and most talented youngsters last season, he’s struggling to get off the bench in recent weeks.
However, the question which remains on the lips of those associated with Arsenal is whether it’s to do with his hamstring injury lay-off or purely down to the discretion of Arteta.
Arteta’s quotes hint that the Brazil youth international needs to do more in order to break into the side, however, then the manager goes on to say that he also needs time. If supporters were confused before the manager’s comments, they’ll be even more baffled now.
One thing that is certain, is the battle Martinelli has on his hands in order to make his way back into the first-team picture. Arteta has a tough decision on his hands especially the weekend performances from Nicolas Pepe and Willian.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also started firing in recent weeks, scoring eight goals since the turn of the year in what has been a staggering change of fortune for the African. And I don’t think I need to tell you much more about our very own star boy Bukayo Saka, who is probably on his way to winning the club’s player of the year award.
If Martinelli was feeling frustrated before the clash with the Foxes, he’ll feel even more exasperated after Sunday’s game. The ‘talent of the century‘ has his hands full if he wants to be a regular, but, with his level of effort, you wouldn’t put it past him to make a breakthrough sooner rather than later.