Gabriel Martinelli says he’s “cool” about criticism surrounding his call-up to Brazil’s World Cup squad after some no-mark rent-a-gob went on a rant about the decision being corrupt.
We’re not going to relay what was originally said nor are we going to waste time looking up the guy’s background. We’ll just make the safe assumption that he has all the gravitas of Jamie O’Hara.
It’s very cool laying into a 21-year-old, mate. We bet you feel like a big man for that.
Anyway, Martinelli – who is having a superb season for Arsenal – has responded in a typically diplomatic fashion.
He told ESPN Brazil (related by Sport Witness): “I think this is normal. Some people in Brazil don’t know me and it’s also normal to say that other players deserved to be there. But I’m pretty cool about it, I think this is normal.
“I know what I’m doing at my club, I know my ability and I know what I can do. And you can be sure that I will do my best for the Brazilian team, in whatever I can help the team I will help. It will be a great experience for me.”
Martinelli also touched on how the Arsenal squad received the news of his selection, alongside Gabriel Jesus.
“Everyone was very happy for us to be in the World Cup. It’s good for Arsenal, too, to have players in the World Cup. And everyone was very happy, we are a very united team.
“Today, there was also the call-up of Bukayo [Saka], Aaron [Ramsdale, Ben [White], so we are happy for each other. We know that we are at the top of the Premier League, but this is just the beginning, and that we still have a lot of work to do.”
Alongside the England trio and Brazilian duo, the Gunners will also be represented by Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Matt Turner (USA), William Saliba (France). It’s expected that Thomas Partey will also get the nod from Ghana.
To date, Arsenal have had six players win the World Cup while on the books at the club.
Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira helped France to success on home turf in 1998, Cesc Fabregas provided the assist for Andres Iniesta’s extra time winner over Holland in 2010 and German trio Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil were victorious in Rio.
Saliba, who could well start in defence for reigning champions France, is aware of the history and keen to emulate the achievement of his illustrious predecessors.
After Wednesday’s defeat to Brighton, he said: “Yes, of course, I want to be the next Frenchmen to do that, like Petit or Vieira. We will see.
“You know in France we have a lot of good defenders so that is why I am so happy. If I am in the squad it’s because I had a good start to the season with Arsenal. I am so happy and grateful to be in this squad.”