Gabriel Martinelli scored within two minutes of coming on for Arsenal against Newcastle United but manager Mikel Arteta was impressed by much more than the young forward’s goal
Indicative of how well things are currently going at the Emirates, Martinelli made an impact in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory within two minutes of coming on as a substitute.
Having replaced the injured Bukayo Saka just after the hour mark, the 20-year-old scored his first Premier League goal of the season to stake his claim for a place in the starting XI.
But Martinelli, whose future at the club has been in doubt for a number of months, put the work in long before Saturday’s fixture, with manager publicly challenging him to change his ways earlier this year.
Join the debate! Does Martinelli have a future at Arsenal? Comment your thoughts below.
Back in April after the Brazilian had returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, Arteta told Sky Sports: “There are a few things that have to be better and one of those is to manage when he doesn’t play because this is part of your career, this is part of being at a top club and being a young player.
“You have to know how to suffer when you are on the bench and you are not selected and somebody else is playing.
“You have to be able to swallow that, all your ego and your anger, all your willingness to play the game, while also living in a different country. That’s a big test and he’s gone through that as well.”
The Gunners boss added: “He needs time. He is so willing and so anxious that it can block his development sometimes as well.
“Sometimes he won’t understand my decisions but the only reason I make those is to help him, so when he gets the chance to sprint, he can sprint and when he falls, he goes again.”
And it seems Martinelli, whose “impressive” strike sealed the three points against Newcastle, has heeded his manager’s advice.
Following the weekend win, Arteta was asked about the forward and glowingly replied: “It is a big moment for him and I’m especially happy for him because how he behaves.
“Some players are respectful when you make some decisions, and some players are very respectful, like he is.
“He’s patient, but at the same time he’s really pushing and challenging and it makes every decision that you make even harder because he deserve more.
Have your say! How did Arsenal fare vs Newcastle? Rate the players below.
“I’m really pleased because he really helped the team to get the points today.”
With Saka’s injury potentially keeping the England international out for multiple big games, Martinelli’s maturity has come at an ideal time for Arteta, who has no fear in trusting in his youngsters.
“If you trust them then you have to trust them and it gives them confidence even after in difficult moments,” the Spaniard went on to say.
“If not, it’s not real, trust me. They were given another chance and they’ve done it today because they showed during the week how hurting they were after that defeat and how willing they were to put it right today.”