Arsenal

Alan Shearer Sends Solid Message to Mikel Arteta Over Gabriel Martinelli

Alan Shearer has urged Mikel Arteta to hand Gabriel Martinelli an extended run in Arsenal’s starting XI after his electric performance against West Ham last night.

The Brazil Under-21 international has struggled to build on his impressive debut season in English football due to a succession of injuries that had relegated him to a bit-part role under Mikel Arteta.

An injury to Emile Smith Rowe allied to Piere-Emerick Aubameyang’s exile has handed the energetic forward with an opportunity which he has seized in recent weeks.

The 20-year-old, playing on the left of a front three, opened the scoring last night with a brilliantly taken goal, latching onto Alexandre Lacazette’s through ball and steering his shot beyond the dive of Lukasz Fabianski.

Martinelli also impressed with his boundless energy and willingness to help out in defence and with Aubameyang out of the picture for the time being, Shearer believes Arteta must stick with the youngster.

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He said: ‘I’d like him to have more of a run over a sustained period and show what he can do over a sustained period of time but that is really exciting play and that’s exactly what Arteta needed tonight.

‘The players needed to go out and do the manager a favour, he put his neck on the line in making that big decision and leaving the captain out and taking the captaincy off him publicly. They didn’t disappoint and didn’t let him down.’

Arteta, meanwhile, was equally delighted with Martinelli’s contribution to a win that lifted Arsenal into the top four for the first time this season but had some sage advice for the young Brazilian.

He said: ‘Physically he was cramping again today. He needs to mature on that side of the game. He’s able to put some gears into his play instead of doing everything 100 miles per hour.

‘His overall understanding of the game is getting much better. The energy and the quality that he shows sometimes is top.’

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