Ian Wright calls for Arsenal fans to be ‘more patient’ over Gabriel Martinelli after recent omissions

Martinelli hasn't featured in the Premier League since the end of January
Martinelli hasn’t featured in the Premier League since the end of January (Picture: Getty Images)

Ian Wright has backed Mikel Arteta’s careful handling of Gabriel Martinelli’s playing time of late and wants Arsenal fans to be ‘more patient’ over the 19-year-old.

Martinelli, who was signed from FC Ituano in 2019, burst onto the scene last season with 10 goals in his first 26 games for the club but suffered an untimely knee injury in June which kept him out of action for six months.

The winger was slowly reintroduced towards the end of December and made an immediate impact with his energetic and dynamic performances.

Wright backed Arteta's handling of Martinelli
Wright backed Arteta’s handling of Martinelli (Picture: Getty Images)

But an ankle injury picked up in mid-January proved to be yet another setback and since then, Arteta has handled the Brazilian’s game time carefully,

Martinelli has been an unused substitute in Arsenal’s last five Premier League games and was also left on the bench when his side were chasing a goal against Benfica in the Europa League last week, which drew criticism from sections of the fanbase.

After his latest omission in last Saturday’s win over Leicester, Arteta admitted the forward needs to ‘keep working’ and ‘make it difficult’ for him to be left out.

And given the improved form of Willian and Nicolas Pepe in recent weeks, Gunners legend Wright believes his former side can afford to ease Martinelli back into action slowly.

‘People are very much like, ‘where’s Martinelli?’,’ Wright said on Ringer FC’s Wrighty’s House podcast.

‘But Martinelli has had a serious injury, he’s coming back and with Willian playing better, with Pepe playing better, with Auba nicking his goals now – he can introduce him slowly.

‘Please be more patient, Arsenal fans, because this is our future, Gabriel Martinelli is our future.

‘Yes, he’s fit but we don’t want to be blasting him in just in case he could break down.

‘We have players who are playing better now and we can ease him in.

‘His time will come because Mikel makes the right decisions.

‘You can see that with Willian at the moment and long may it continue for Willian.’

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