Gabriel Martinelli feels he’s overcome his knee injury and is working hard to be ready when called upon but is he eyeing the number 14 shirt?
As most of you will be well aware, Gabriel Martinelli missed the vast majority of the first four months of the 2020/21 campaign with a knee injury.
The 19-year-old had to ease slowly back into the action with the u21s, and he still hasn’t completed a 90-minute match by this point in February.
Thankfully, the player himself says he feels he’s in good physical condition now.
The Brazilian u23 international’s previous injury is no longer causing him problems, so he’s just working hard to get back in the team. He knows that won’t be easy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for competition.
“I’m feeling very good,” Martinelli told ESPN (in quotes translated by Twitter user @Rehnato). “I don’t feel any more pain on my knee and this is the most important thing. I’m ready when Mikel needs me.
“I’m working very hard (to start). Of course, Auba plays in my position but I look to him every day, in every training, to learn as much as I can from him, he’s also a great guy off the pitch.
“I want to follow into Aubameyang’s footsteps, he’s a captain, he wears the number 14 shirt. That is a symbol for this club and of course, I hope to be very successful at Arsenal.”
Martinelli showed signs of his 2019/20 form in his EFL Cup appearance against Manchester City back in December. Though he only completed the first 49 minutes due to a knock, he set up Arsenal’s only goal of the game with an excellent cross.
Since the turn of the year, he’s struggled to have the same kind of impact, but that’s normal for a player recovering from an extended absence. His work ethic is still clearly very good, and it’s surely just a matter of time until he gets more chances.