Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno believes Gabriel Martinelli has the quality and talent to become a world class player in the long run.
The teenager joined the Gunners from Brazilian fourth-tier side Ituano last summer and he was initially fancied to link up with the development squad.
However, he managed to sufficiently impress during the pre-season tour of the United States and was therefore able to cement a first-team spot under then-manager Unai Emery.
Martinelli scored a brace in his full debut against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup third round and he has since bagged another eight goals and four assists from 25 appearances.
Speaking to Soccer AM, Leno was full of praise for the Brazil youth international and said that the 18-year-old has the potential to evolve into a world class player in the future.
“I think he can become a world class player. 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],” He told.
He added to appreciate the youngster’s mentality, given he was able to stand out with a number of key performances when the club were going through a bad phase earlier in the campaign.
“I remember in our bad time when we struggled a lot, he was working so hard, he was one of the leaders and at 18 years old he came from nowhere, nobody knew him before and to play like this and to behave like this is very good to see,” He added.
Martinelli, who is valued at £22.5m, has made 14 appearances for the Gunners in the Premier League this term and only six of them have been starts.
Still, he has caught the eye with three goals and two of those came when the north London side were trailing against West Ham United and Chelsea.
Martinelli was hardly used by Mikel Arteta after the winter break but he was probably protecting him after the regular run of games between December and January.
The youngster still needs to work on his distribution but he has shown positive signs with his positional awareness in the box, when a goalscoring opportunity arises.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com