Mikel Arteta says Gabriel Martinelli is ready to start games, but he insists Arsenal need to find the right timing to involve the forward more.
Gabriel Martinelli came on to score his first goal of the season against Newcastle United at the weekend, as he continues to feed on scraps with his gametime.
After starting the first two games of the Premier League season, Martinelli hasn’t made another league start since.
The young Brazilian did make the lineup for a couple of games in the League Cup, winning a penalty against AFC Wimbledon and playing the full 90 in the victory over Leeds United, but it hasn’t led to much.
Martinelli’s 26-minute PL appearance against Newcastle was his longest since August, and he made the most of it with a very well-taken goal.
Since the game, Arteta has explained his thought process when it comes to the Olympic Gold medallist.
“It’s part of the pathway,” Arteta said. “I understand that we want to play all the players, but we can only play 11 of them.
“We have such a young team and we have to find the right pathway with the right timing within the pathway because it can look in a different way and I think it’s very clear what we want to do with Gabi.
“His determination is absolutely top and he will continue to do that. He has the capacity to start games, no doubt about it.”
If Bukayo Saka doesn’t recover in time for the trip to Manchester United, Martinelli could get another chance this week.
It was certainly notable that he was the player selected to come on over Nicolas Pepe last weekend. But if Saka is back, Martinelli will likely need to continue playing the waiting game.