Martinelli has everything to be world class – Leno

Gabriel Martinelli became a leader at Arsenal during their bad start to the Premier League season, according to Bernd Leno.

The 18-year-old Brazilian was one of the few positives for the Gunners during the final months of Unai Emery’s troubled reign, after joining for just £6 million ($8m) from Ituano last year.

Leno says he has no doubt Martinelli can become a top player, and has been impressed with his mentality and hard-working nature.

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“I think he can become a world-class player,” Leno told Soccer AM.

“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! At 18 years old, he came from nowhere, nobody knew him before and to play like this, and to behave like this, it’s very good to see.

“I think if he keeps doing like this, he will be an unbelievable player.”

Martinelli has scored 10 goals in 26 appearances for Arsenal, including one particularly memorable solo effort in the 2-2 Premier League draw at Chelsea.

He is one of a clutch of young players to find themselves being given chances to shine in the Arsenal first team this season.

The likes of Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson have all enjoyed time on the pitch and are expected to continue their development under Mikel Arteta.

“I think for the fans it’s very good because you have a very young team, they can develop very quickly,” Leno added.

“You can see they compete, they are playing a lot of games.

“Saka is very young, Joe is still very young, Reiss had experience in Germany and he is doing very well now. We can have a very good time with them.

“Of course, they need time, you have to give them the time and if they have a good mentality, we will be successful with them.”

Leno also spoke about Mesut Ozil, saying he believes many fans don’t understand the German’s importance to the team beyond simple goal and assist statistics.

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