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Gabriel Martinelli has been told what he must do in order to earn regular game time at Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta looking for the Brazilian forward to make selection calls “difficult” for him.
He has been used sparingly in a disjointed 2020-21 campaign, with Arteta leaving the youngster as an unused substitute in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over Leicester.
Quizzed on whether Martinelli’s fitness record is holding him back, Arteta told reporters: “Well, he needs to keep working and making it difficult for us.
“He is a player that is going to give us a lot, but we need some time to find the right games for him and the right connections with him on the pitch so that he can do what he does best.
“But the way he is and the way he trains every day, he is going to be a really important player for us, no doubt.
“But, when you have many options, it is difficult when you look for certain qualities in certain games.”
The promising attacker saw his start to the 2020-21 campaign delayed by a long-term knee problem, whichsaw him miss 30 games for the Gunners, while calf and ankle injuries have been nursed since returning to the fold.
With others being given an opportunity to impress in his absence, Martinelli has been restricted to just eight appearances.Only five of those have come in the Premier League, with 211 minutes spent on the field.
He has not figured at all in the English top flight since being withdrawn at half-time in a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on January 30.
Martinelli is still held in high regard at Emirates Stadium, but is having to prove himself all over again.
A debut campaign in England that delivered 10 goals through 32 outings hinted at big things, with comparisons drawn to Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
Backwards steps have been taken since then, but time is still very much on the side of a player who will be hoping to figure prominently in Arsenal’s top-four and Europa League challenges in the business end of 2020-21.