Mikel Arteta says progress for Gabriel Martinelli is about more than just one or two good days, and he needs to earn praise in the long term.
It’s not hard to find coaches, pundits and journalists ready to heap praise on Gabriel Martinelli right now, and Mikel Arteta is no exception. He recently had high praise for the courage and energy of the 18-year-old’s performance against Chelsea.
The head coach was keen to highlight that the player still has a long way to go though. We all love to get carried away with young prospects in this country, but Arteta insists it’s a slow process to get to the top.
“I would like to talk about potential, more than what it is at the moment because for him there is still a long way,” Arteta said. “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.
“I want him to train with his head down every day hard. 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.”
A strong start – but it’s only a start
Martinelli scored his tenth Arsenal goal against Chelsea on Tuesday. He also has three assists in his 21 appearances (11 starts) for the club. To have more goal contributions than starts at age 18 isn’t a bad record.
We have to keep it all in perspective though. Most of those goals and assists came in the Europa League group stage or the League Cup.
Still impressive for such a young player, but braces against Nottingham Forest, Standard Liege and Liverpool’s backup side don’t make you the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. The young Brazilian has to keep pushing himself for more.
The good news is that no one is questioning Martinelli’s work ethic. His teammates are actually making quite a big point of praising him for it.
As long as he maintains that over the next few years, he should see the rewards.