Rio Ferdinand has revealed his enormous admiration for an Arsenal teenager whose maturity at this stage in his career he described as “crazy”.
The gunmen are in the middle of an identity crisis under Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard has set out to make Arsenal a more robust defensive unit. The summer acquisitions of Gabriel Magalhaes and general midfielder Thomas Partey – Who Roy Keane recently marveled with live – have helped their cause.
But, unusually for Arsenal, their power in front of goal has been very low in recent games.
Talisman forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has just two league goals to his name. Furthermore, Arsenal’s last three league defeats occurred without disturbing the minutes.
One player who could remedy his lack of avant-garde is Gabriel Martinelli.
The 19-year-old Brazilian is currently out of the game after undergoing knee surgery in June.
The Brazilian was a bright light last season despite his tender age. 10 goals were scored in 26 appearances across all competitions, as comparisons were made with Man Utd hitman Mason Greenwood.
Now, speaking via his Instagram page (via The Mirror), Ferdinand has gone lyrical about the young talent.
The Manchester United legend said of Martinelli: “Being 18 years old, do what you are doing; the goal against Chelsea alone, he runs from the edge of his area, a set piece against his team, takes him to the other end.
“Normally, your legs are gone, you don’t have energy or juice in your legs. But he has the composure to fit it.
“Great player. But the awareness of the way he plays, the way he moves on the field, the intelligence to receive the ball, the positions he takes ”.
Maturity levels are “crazy”
Another Gunners star has caught the eye of late: Bukayo Saka.
Saka’s rise has been recognized to the tune of two internationals for England in 2020, and Ferdinand believes both he and Martinelli have the potential to form a deadly partnership.
He added: “He (Martinelli) comes in at the right time to allow Saka to have space on the outside and ask the questions of the opposite sides; ‘Are you going to come in with me or will you stay with Saka?’
“It’s crazy. He is a mature player for such a young child ”.
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