Michael Thomas has encouraged Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to start using Gabriel Martinelli a little more regularly.
When Arsenal needed a goal in Monday night’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, Arteta gave the Brazilian wonderkid a cameo appearance.
And although the Gunners wound up netting a late equaliser, the 20-year-old was only given nine minutes in which to make a difference.
He certainly buzzed around a lot and you could tell that the Eagles’ defence was concerned by his threat, doubling up on him in the final minutes.
This is a player who, at the age of 18, was labelled a ‘talent of the century’ by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
But in the 23 months since Arteta replaced Unai Emery at Arsenal, Martinelli’s star has fallen and he hasn’t really done much – a solo goal against Chelsea in January of 2020 notwithstanding.
He was signed for £6 million under Emery two years ago and club legend Michael Thomas has admitted that he’d love to see him used more regularly.
He told Caught Offside: “I’d possibly like to see more of Martinelli also, as he looked quite lively and brought good energy to the team.”
Martinelli is a double-edged sword for Arteta.
On one hand, he isn’t experienced enough to play more regularly in the Premier League at Arsenal.
On the other, he has only managed 747 minutes of top-flight football since the start of last season – the equivalent of just 8.3 full games.
How is he meant to improve in the Premier League when game time is so limited and erratic?
That’s a quandry that Arteta needs to solve because in terms of talent, Martinelli has bags of it – just ask Klopp – and if the Arsenal boss can unlock it, it benefits all parties.