Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal supporters not to get carried away with the incredible form of striker Gabriel Martinelli, adding that the attacker needs to continue to work hard every single day.
Martinelli has enjoyed a superb debut season at the Emirates, scoring ten goals in just 11 starts for the Gunners.
The 18-year-old has exceeded expectations since joining from Ituano in the summer transfer window, but Arteta believes the Arsenal faithful mustn’t expect too much from the starlet, despite acknowledging how talented young Martinelli is.
As quoted by Goal, the Arsenal boss said: “I would like to talk about potential, more than what it is at the moment because for him there is still a long way.
“The stature of this club, to give him the key to do that straight away is not fair on him. We have to bring him down,” he added. “I want him to train with his head down every day hard and slowly he will start to earn the praise if he does what he needs to do every day, but it is not about one or two days.”
Martinelli most recently excelled during Arsenal‘s 2-2 draw with local rivals Chelsea, scoring after a rather remarkable run that began in his own half – albeit aided by N’Golo Kante’s unfortunate slip.
The teenager has thoroughly impressed in the Europa League and Carabao Cup and, courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s red card, has begun to take the Premier League by storm as well.
Arteta was seemingly well aware of Martinelli’s talents prior to joining the club, claiming: “I heard a lot of things about Gabi before I joined and the moment I saw [him] in training, it was confirmed the things I was told before.
“I think the way he competes and how brave he is in every decision on that pitch is very unusual for an 18-year-old,” he continued.
“He competed against one of the best defenders in the league, in [Cesar] Azpilicueta, and he got at him every time he had a chance. His fighting spirit is incredible and then he is a threat for goal every time.”
But primarily Arteta wants to contain expectations surrounding the 18-year-old, adding: “That is the risk and not just him, but all of us and me included and the club and the people around him. We have to support him and protect him.”
“He needs to play with that freedom where he has the license to do what he wants to do on the pitch, but with the pressure really that it doesn’t always have to be him to do it.”