Football

Gabriel Martinelli earns admirers in Martin Keown and Rio Ferdinand

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown was excited at Gabriel Martinelli's prospects, after the young Brazilian again shone in the Gunners' 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 18-year-old, who arrived from the Brazilian fourth tier in July, has 10 goals in all competitions this season.

Former Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldinho last week likened Martinelli to Brazil legend Ronaldo.

Keown, however, compared the forward to Raheem Sterling, who worked with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta at Manchester City.

The former England defender told BT Sport: "I just feel that this player is so mature for someone so young...

"If you look at his vision... he's linking really well... He's always on the move, he's a nightmare to pick up and Bournemouth just couldn't get near him.

"The last player Arteta worked with in that position would have been Sterling, and you saw the improvement of Sterling, so it's going to be a joy to watch this fella improve."

His fellow pundit in the BT Sport studio, Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, marvelled at Martinelli's swagger.

Said the former Manchester United defender: "That nonchalance is too much. He's playing with ridiculous confidence at the moment.

"That comes from the manager, it comes from opportunity, and from taking it."

Martinelli is not the only teen grabbing his opportunity.

Fellow 18-year-old Bukayo Saka opened the scoring on five minutes before setting up 20-year-old Eddie Nketiah for Arsenal's second in the 26th minute. Sam Surridge, 21, pulled one back for the Cherries in added time.

Said Saka: "Mikel is tying to bring back the philosophy of the Arsenal way... I train a lot with Gabriel Martinelli. We speak a lot about how we can beat defenders and get goals."


FA CUP FIFTH-ROUND DRAW

  • Sheffield Wednesday v Man City
  • Reading/Cardiff v Sheffield United
  • Chelsea v Shrewsbury/Liverpool
  • West Brom v Newcastle/Oxford
  • Leicester v Coventry/Birmingham
  • Northampton/Derby v Man United
  • Southampton/Tottenham v Norwich
  • Portsmouth v Arsenal
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