Ian Wright has revealed that he’s been offering advice and encouragement to Gabriel Martinelli ever since the 18-year-old contacted him privately via Instagram.
The striker, a surprise acquisition from Brazil side Ituano, has been one of Arsenal’s stand out performers this season, scoring 9 goals and making three assists in 20 appearances.
The Brazilian has made a real impression on club legend Wrighty who has been happy to take the youngster, as he did with Eddie Nketiah, under his wing.
“When you see him you can see there is a hunger and a determination about him,’ Wright told BBC Radio 5Live.
“I’ve been in contact with him with texts and things, you can see that all he wants to do is do well.
“He’s so hungry. I think it’s only Jadon Sancho as a teenager who has scored more goals than him in the top five leagues so he’s somebody that has definitely got something in him.
“We’re lucky to have him and if he carries on improving the way he is, then it’s going to be very difficult to keep hold of him.
“If they can create chances, the way he moves into the box, he’s going to score goals and that is what we need to concentrate on with Arsenal, scoring more goals and creating more chances.
“We just talk, I’ll say well done and good movement, keep getting yourself in the box, make your near post run.
“As an 18-year-old, it’s nice to just hear people saying you’re doing great and he needs to keep doing those things.
“He got in touch on Instagram and then we went from there. I get a lot of slide ins, if I’m honest. I’ve got a broad spectrum of experience that I can share.”
It’s always great to hear that advice is being passed down from generation to generation, especially when you consider Wrighty’s calibre. We shouldn’t have to remind anyone that the former England striker banged in 185 goals for the Gunners; a record only bettered by Thierry Henry.
If you’re wondering how well Martinelli is getting on with English, it sounds as though he’s coming on leaps and bounds. Bukayo Saka revealed to The Athletic (£) that the striker is more than capable of holding his own in his new tongue.
“His English is improving a lot,” Saka said. “He can hold a good conversation with me now.
“We speak a lot so I know where to find him in the box. He always tells me ‘just put it in behind the defence and I’ll be there,’ so I did it for him.
“That’s how he got his goal [on Saturday]. Gabi just wants to drive at defenders.”