Mikel Arteta sends message to Arsenal fans ahead of Gabriel Martinelli return

Gabriel Martinelli hasn't played for Arsenal this season due to injury
Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t played for Arsenal this season due to injury (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal fans to show patience with Gabriel Martinelli ahead of his imminent first team return.

The Brazil Under-21 international joined the club 18 months ago as a virtual unknown from Ituano on the recommendation of former head scout Francis Cagigao.

Martinelli scored 10 goals in 26 first team appearances, but featured on only nine occasions under Arteta before he suffered a serious knee injury in training that has ruled him out of action since March.

The teenage forward has stepped up his recovery in recent weeks and is slowly being integrated back into the first team fold, where his eye for goal and relentless pressing would be welcomed by his under-pressure manager.

Arteta, however, has attempted to temper expectations and is wary of placing too much pressure on Martinelli and his team-mate Bukayo Saka who has cemented his place as a first team regular this season.

Gabriel Martinelli hasn't appeared for Arsenal's first team since an FA Cup win over Portsmouth in March
Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t appeared for Arsenal’s first team since an FA Cup win over Portsmouth in March (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘Gabi is another one that even in a moment of adversity, you see him training and everything he brings to the team, his energy, his passion, his motivation, is translating positive emotions to everybody.

‘He tries and goes and goes again and he wants to score a goal. He’s ruthless in training in every single action and the more players and staff you have to add that, at the end that gets translated to what happens on the football pitch and over time you will be stable. Gabi’s pressing brings something different to the team and we need players like him.

‘Time is the key word in this industry, and nobody is going to give you time! The moment the ball doesn’t go in the net and you lose a football match, you’re going to question all the rest, so with Gabi it’s the same.

‘Now he needs time. He’s done it for a period of time and in certain moments throughout a game, but consistently for three years, two or one? He’s never done it. I’m sorry, he’s never done it, so we cannot put that pressure on him.

‘It’s like with Bukayo and other young players that we have, they’ve never done it in their career, so why do you expect him to do it today? And in which environment? In which context? Patience, but he’s a positive guy to have back on the team because he’s such a character.’

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