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'Martinelli is a top player' - Luiz impressed by Arsenal team-mate's 'great mentality'

20:21 SAST 2019/11/15
Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2019-20
The Brazilian has revealed his "respect" for a fellow countryman who has had a big impact at Emirates Stadium at the start of the 2019-20 season

Arsenal defender David Luiz has expressed his admiration towards club colleague Gabriel Martinelli, highlighting the teenager's "great mentality" and "determination" to improve behind the scenes.

Martinelli arrived at Emirates Stadium from Brazilian outfit Ituano for a £6 million ($8m) fee at the start of July, one month after his 18th birthday.

The exciting young forward has found first-team opportunities limited due to his age and lack of experience in the early stages of the new season, but he has been given the chance to shine in cup competitions.

Martinelli has hit three goals in as many matches for Arsenal in the Europa League, while also netting four in two Carabao Cup appearances.

He scored a superb brace during a 5-5 draw against Liverpool at Anfield in his last League Cup outing, with the Gunners eventually exiting the competition on penalties.

The Brazilian has been tipped for a bright future at club and international level if he continues on his current trajectory, with Arsenal team-mate Luiz among those impressed by his contribution at the Emirates.

The experienced defender, who also joined the Gunners during the summer transfer window, thinks Martinelli is already a "top player", with a maturity which belies his tender age.

“I’m not going to say who is the best talent, but the best mentality at the moment is Martinelli," Luiz told 90min.com.

"He has a great mentality, it is special, he is a top guy, a top player, but what really impresses me is his mentality on the training ground, and the way he reacts to scoring goals, like at Anfield, and how he continues to work with a great mentality.

“He is taking his opportunity step by step and he has the same focus, determination and respect for everything and he is so mature for his age.”

Luiz and Martinelli will return to Arsenal after the international break, with a vital away clash at Southampton up next on November 23.

Unai Emery's side have fallen to sixth in the Premier League table after 12 fixtures, eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Five days after their trip to St Mary's, the Gunners will resume their Europa League campaign at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, where Martinelli could be asked to lead the line once again.

Arsenal will then look ahead to their first fixture of the festive period away at Norwich on December 1.