Martinelli backed to follow Sterling’s route to the top under Arsenal boss Arteta

Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal
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Former Gunners defender Martin Keown believes the highly-rated Brazilian forward can thrive under a coach who previously worked at Manchester City

With Mikel Arteta having helped to unlock the full potential of Raheem Sterling at Manchester City, Martin Keown believes a similar approach will now be taken with Arsenal starlet Gabriel Martinelli.

The Brazilian forward has been a revelation at Emirates Stadium during his debut campaign in English football.

Acquired in the summer of 2019 as a relative unknown, the 18-year-old has been a rare success story for the Gunners in what has been another frustrating season on the whole.

Martinelli provided an early assist in his most recent outing – a 2-1 FA Cup win over Bournemouth – and is already into double figures in terms of goals scored.

Plaudits have rained down on the exciting teenager and Keown believes he could follow in the footsteps of an England international who took his game to greater heights when working with Arteta.

“The last player Arteta will have worked with in that position would have been Sterling and you saw the improvement of Sterling, so it's going to be a joy to watch this fella improve because of his starting position,” the ex-Arsenal defender told BT Sport

“This is where he is now rather than the bottom rung, 18 years of age.”

Keown added: “I just feel that this player is so mature for someone so young.

“He's 18 years of age and we mustn't forget that. If you look at his vision. Everything he's linking really well, taking on board this new message of give-and-go. He's always on the move, he's a nightmare to pick up and Bournemouth just couldn't get near him.”

Arsenal celebrate at Bournemouth, FA Cup fourth round, 2019-20

Martinelli was not the only Gunners youngster to shine against Bournemouth.

Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah got the goals for Arsenal as they edged their way past the Cherries and into round five.

Keown was pleased to see the latter get on the scoresheet after being brought back to Emirates Stadium from a loan spell at Leeds.

He said of highly-rated frontman Nketiah: “It is very obvious that Arteta is giving them the freedom to play, giving them opportunities.

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“This young man is coming back from Leeds where he scored (five) goals. He’s a really good mover off the ball, good movement. He’s scored goals for England U21s.

“He’s got a massive future and they’re getting chances now under Arteta. He’s going with the youth and there’s an energy to this Arsenal team now.”

Arsenal will be back in action on Sunday when they take in a trip to Burnley, before then enjoying a two-week winter break from Premier League competition.