Mikel Arteta has provided a fitness update on Gabriel Martinelli ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Southampton on Tuesday.
The Brazilian was withdrawn after just 58 minutes during the Gunners 1-0 defeat at St. Mary’s in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday despite being one of his side’s better players.
This was the 19-year-old’s first start after picking up a knock in the warm up ahead of the third round clash with Newcastle two weeks prior.
There were some fears that the early substitution may have been as a result of another injury. However, Mikel Arteta revealed that it was nothing to be worried about.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will auto-play soon8Cancel
“No he was fine, it was tactical decision,” said the Arsenal boss. “He’s fine.
“Obviously he’s missed, again, a few training sessions with the last injury.”
Martinelli missed six months last year due to a knee injury, and is being slowly managed back into the side.
The Gunners have already had their fingers burnt with bringing players back too quickly this season.
Thomas Partey was rushed back following a thigh strain in time for the North London Derby but ended up aggravating the injury handing Spurs a goal, and ruling himself out for a further six weeks.
They are hoping not to repeat the same thing with the Brazilian.
Once he is back to full fitness though, Arteta revealed that he is expecting Martinelli to play a large role in his side for the remainder of the season.
(L-R) David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli during a training session at London Colney (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
“I expect big things from Gabi,” he added. “He’s been really helpful since he’s joined again after such a long period. So I’m really positive about him.”
Martinelli could start when the Gunners travel to play Southampton for the second time…