Gabriel Martinelli has expressed his desire to follow in Arsenal teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s footsteps and has told boss Mikel Arteta he is ‘ready’ and waiting to play.
The 19-year-old has had a stop-start Gunners career thus far, with a succession of injuries heavily restricting his game time since his arrival from Ituano in 2019.
The Brazilian suffered a knee injury in early July, keeping him out of competitive action until December, while he then picked up an ankle injury in the warm-up against Newcastle in early January.
The teenager has thus managed just four Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season, yet has impressed when he has featured, with his inclusion alongside the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe helping the Gunners end their seven-game winless run against Chelsea on Boxing day.
After recovering from his latest knock, the forward has insisted that he is ‘ready’ to play, while he also admitted he is keen to emulate the impact of club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“I’m feeling very good,” he told ESPN. “I don’t feel any more pain on my knee and this is the most important thing. I’m ready [to play] when Mikel needs me.
“I’m working very hard, [but] 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 No14 shirt, that is a symbol for this club and of course, I hope to be very successful at Arsenal.”
While has been fit and available in recent weeks, the youngster has found it difficult to work his way back into contention, with boss Mikel Arteta stating that he must find his ‘rhythm’ in order to earn his place in the team.
“Well, he came back and did really well, but then he picked up another injury,” he said during his pre-match press conference.
“It took him a while to come and now it’s about getting in his rhythm and getting his place in the team like anybody else. Don’t forget that we played him last time against Manchester United and he started ahead of other players, so it’s not like he’s not having the opportunities.
“We know that he’s got a huge potential and he’s done some really good things since he’s come back. He has a lot of things to develop in his game because of course at his age it’s normal.”