The Gunners boss has been reluctant to grant the 19-year-old consistent minutes on the pitch during an injury-hit season for him.
Mikel Arteta assures Gabriel Martinelli is an important part of his future plans at Arsenal saying the player is “very close” to nailing down a place in his starting XI.
Martinelli’s start to the 2020/21 season was delayed due to an unfortunate injury as he had damaged his knee towards the end of last season and had to wait until December to get back in action. Another setback suffered not long after then forced him to miss a couple more games.
Only 22 matches have been played by the Brazilian attacker this season and in a mere four of those has he been on the pitch right from kick-off – but it seems his situation is going to improve next season.
“Very close. And he needs to keep fighting to be closer and closer,” responded Arteta when asked how close Martinelli is to earning a starting berth at Arsenal, via Football London.
“We need to understand where the boys are and the phase of their development, what they have done this season and last season.
“I know that we want to play with 11 academy players and all under 20, but guys, who is doing that? I think we’ve done it more than anybody.”
“They’re going to have their chances and they’re earning their chances. We’re not just giving the chances they’re earning them, absolutely earning their chances and it’s a joy to have them in this club.”