Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has spoken on Gabriel Martinelli’s progress over the course of the current campaign.
The Brazilian was initially out of contention for a starting role in the Premier League, and he was quite often an unused substitute.
However, his fortunes changed after his wonderful cameo against Newcastle United last month where he scored with a sublime volley.
Martinelli has since started five Premier League games in a row. He has carried on the good form with three goals and two assists.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Sunderland, Arteta heaped praise on Martinelli and believes he can become better by ‘adding more gears to his game’.
When asked to explain, the Gunners boss highlighted the decision-making of the 20-year-old, and emphasised that he trains incredibly hard without being afraid to take risks.
He told Arsenal.com: “You cannot play every action at 100mph, it is impossible.”
“It is not very efficient for you because you burn yourself out after a few minutes, and then you just chasing a situation and not reading exactly what is needed.
“Gabi is doing much better at that. We have to try to do that without losing the passion, the energy and this capacity he has to just affect the game with the way he acts on the pitch.
“He trains incredibly hard, he is always willing to do more and he is not scared or afraid to take risks, and that is what I like about him.”
Martinelli has struggled with injuries in his young career. There was speculation earlier this season that he could be loaned out during the January transfer window.
It has been a tremendous turnaround for him over the past month. The £19.8m forward is now regarded as an undisputed starter amid regular goal contributions.
The onus now remains on staying unscathed over a prolonged period which he has not done so far. The youngster could be rested by Arteta for tomorrow’s Cup game.
While there is a good chance to win silverware, Arteta could take the opportunity to hand a breather to the regular starters with the heavy workload over the past few weeks.
The Spaniard should still have a strong XI against the Black Cats with Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe among those expected to start in the quarter-final at the Emirates.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
Read: Predicted Arsenal line-up vs Sunderland – Carabao Cup.