Rio Ferdinand and Martin Keown have lavished praise on Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli following the forward’s performance in the club’s 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win at Bournemouth.
The teenager has been amongst Arsenal’s most impressive performers of late, scoring a brilliant solo goal against Chelsea last week and again starred at the Vitality Stadium on Monday night, laying on an assist for Bukayo Saka’s opener with a clever reverse ball.
It was the latest strong showing from the 18-year-old during a brilliant debut season at the Emirates since his summer move from Brazilian football, and former England defender Ferdinand was full of praise for a player currently playing with ‘ridiculous confidence’.
“That nonchalance is too much,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport. “He’s playing with ridiculous confidence at the moment.
“That comes from the manager, it comes from opportunity and from taking it. He’s quicker than I actually first thought when I first saw him.
Ronaldinho on Martinelli: “We as Brazilians are very excited about him. Its one thing to have the talent – but another at 18 to have the confidence. He reminds me of Ronaldo. His first season in Europe; he scored 30 goals & people were thinking: ‘who is this Brazilian kid?’” pic.twitter.com/VkKDThhMy1
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) January 27, 2020
“His decision making – that’s the thing that sets him apart, he very rarely gives the ball away and he’s somebody who wants to bring other people into it but you can see the end product is about getting a goal and getting a shot off.”
Keown was left similarly impressed by Martinelli’s latest display, describing the forward as a ‘nightmare to pick up’ and believes the youngster is playing with a maturity that defies his years at present.
“I just feel that this player is so mature for someone so young,” Keown added.
“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.”