Mikel Arteta says Gabriel Martinelli has to ignore praise for his Arsenal performances and concentrate on his development as a player.
The 18-year-old Brazilian has been a revelation since joining from Ituano in the summer, scoring 10 goals in 21 appearances and starring in the 2-2 Premier League draw at Chelsea.
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Arteta knows he has a special talent on his hands at the Emirates Stadium, but he wants to maintain a sense of perspective.
“I would like to talk about potential, more than what it is at the moment because for him there is still a long way,” the Arsenal manager said.
“The stature of this club, to give him the key to do that straight away is not fair on him. We have to bring him down.
“I want him to train with his head down every day hard and slowly he will start to earn the praise if he does what he needs to do every day, but it is not about one or two days.”
There has been plenty of buzz around Martinelli this season, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp describing him as a “talent of the century”.
Arteta was told about the striker before he took the reins at Arsenal, and it didn’t take long for him to join the fan club.
“I heard a lot of things about Gabi before I joined and the moment I saw [him] in training, it was confirmed the things I was told before,” Arteta said.
“I think the way he competes and how brave he is in every decision on that pitch is very unusual for an 18-year-old.
“He competed against one of the best defenders in the league, in [Cesar] Azpilicueta, and he got at him every time he had a chance. His fighting spirit is incredible and then he is a threat for goal every time.”
However, the Spaniard is concerned that people could come to expect too much, too soon from Martinelli.
“That is the risk and not just him, but all of us and me included and the club and the people around him,” he added.
“We have to support him and protect him. We cannot just give him the license to think he can do that every single day and he needs to do that and put himself under that pressure when he can maybe get blocked a little bit.
“It is completely the opposite. He needs to play with that freedom where he has the license to do what he wants to do on the pitch, but with the pressure really that it doesn’t always have to be him to do it.”
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