Arteta praises ‘exceptional’ Martinelli and offers Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe fitness update

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Gabriel Martinelli as ‘exceptional’ and has offered an update on the fitness of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe.

Martinelli has been called up to the Brazil national team for their upcoming final World Cup qualifiers against Chile & Bolivia later this month, earning a first inclusion with the senior side.


The 20-year-old’s call-up comes after an impressive spell of form in recent months, scoring five goals and providing two assists in 13 league starts for the Gunners this season.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Leicester this weekend, Arteta was full of praise for the forward and his development this season.

“He’s shown big signs of where he’s moving and I think his contribution all round in his game has been exceptional,” he told his pre-match press conference.

“Gabi’s playing a different position because Auba played more as a 9 in his last few months. He certainly has the capacity to score goals and be a threat in the final third. His contribution and all round game has been exceptional.”

Arteta also spoke on Alexandre Lacazette’s future and says a decision will be made in the summer, with the Frenchman out of contract at the end of the season.

Lacazette has captained the side since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure and has provided four assists across his past four appearances, but his long-term future remains uncertain as he approaches the end of his deal at the Emirates.

“At the end of the season when we know where we are, we are going to make a decision together,” Arteta said of the Frenchman’s future. “We agreed the decision is to do it in the summer and that’s when we are going to do it.”

The Spaniard confirmed that Emile Smith Rowe is available for selection against Leicester, whilst Takehiro Tomiyasu will be assessed ahead of the clash with the Foxes.

The Japan international has not featured in the Premier League since the New Year’s Day defeat to Manchester City.

“We’re still assessing [Takehiro] Tomiyasu because we’re taking some time to protect him and Emile looks like he’s going to be available.”

Read – Premier League preview: Eight talking points ahead of the weekend’s action

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