Bernd Leno has tipped his Arsenal teammate Gabriel Martinelli to one day become a world class player.
The 18-year-old signed for the Gunners last summer, following impressive goalscoring form for lower league Brazilian side Ituano.
He has already played under three Arsenal managers – starting with Unai Emery and ending with the current boss Mikel Arteta. Interim coach Freddie Ljungberg also described him as a ‘Duracell battery,’ commenting on his impressive stamina.
His goalscoring record in north London is already better than that of his time in Brazil, with his first ten goals at Arsenal taking him eight games fewer than in his homeland.
Germany international goalkeeper Leno commented on his club teammate’s breakthrough, telling SoccerAM: “He can become a world class player. World class: 100 per cent, because he has talent, he has quality.
“But I think his biggest strength is his mentality. He is working unbelievably [hard].
“I remember in our bad time when we struggled a lot, he was working so hard, he was one of the leaders and at 18 years old he came from nowhere, nobody knew him before and to play like this, to behave like this, is very good to see.
“I think if he keeps going like this, he will be an unbelievable player.”
Martinelli’s 14 Premier League appearances thus far have yielded a reasonable three goals, but in the Europa League and EFL Cup particularly he has been electric, lighting up evening games for Arsenal supporters. In those two competitions combined, he has contributed an impressive seven goals and three assists in nine games.
Chelsea FC v Arsenal FC – Premier League
What’s more, Manchester United and Barcelona both rejected him through the trial system, before Arsenal eventually took him on. The Gunners only spent £6m on the teenager, making him one of the bargain signings of the season, regardless of what he goes on to achieve.