‘Perfect’ Martinelli earns Emery plaudits after Arsenal youngster stars in Carabao Cup win
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Arsenal youngster Gabriel Martinelli has earned the praise of his manager Unai Emery, who described his performance as ‘perfect’ after scoring twice in the 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest at the Emirates on Tuesday night.
The 18-year-old Brazilian was tasked with leading the line on his full debut for the club, and he stepped up the plate by starting and ending the scoring.
His first on 31 minutes was a superb header from Calum Chambers' brilliant volleyed cross, before he bagged the goal of the night in the dying seconds of the tie with a curled effort from outside the box.
His goals and live wire display impressed Emery, who praised the youngster signed for £6m in the summer from Ituano.
"Martinelli is a very young player," said the Gunners boss.
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"But he came here and we were waiting and watching him, how he could improve with us and really, really in the pre-season he played very well.
"He was working in each training with a big spirit and with a big performance and I spoke with him to have some passion for when he gets his opportunity to play, to do like he was doing in the training and the matches in the pre-season.
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"Tonight he did that. Really, he deserved it because he is very humble, a humble player and he fights, he is hungry to have that opportunity to help us and really it was perfect, his work tonight."
Fellow youngsters Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson also impressed Emery after both getting on the scoresheet, and the Arsenal boss believes their performances will be good for their confidence.
"Willock took also one step more ahead. Reiss Nelson as well," he said.
"I think this 90 minutes is good for his confidence.
"Really, this competition is one competition that we can achieve in, we can take some different positive issues for thinking that it is one way forward for us."
Emile Smith Rowe was also given a chance by Emery, but his night ended prematurely when he was stretchered off with a head injury.
The Arsenal boss gave a positive update on the youngster after the game, saying: "He received a knock in his head and it was for precaution that we changed him.
"But, I am thinking that it is going to be not a serious problem."