Willian has backed Arsenal youngster Gabriel Martinelli to become one of the best players in the Premier League once he recovers from a long-term injury lay-off.
Martinelli joined Arsenal from Brazilian side Ituano last year and scored 10 goals in 26 games before damaging the cartilage in his left knee during a training session in June.
The 19-year-old, who has yet to be called up by his national side, underwent successful surgery last month and is not expected to return to training until the end of 2020.
Despite Martinelli’s injury setback, compatriot Willian can see plenty of potential in the youngster’s all-round game to go on and become one of the finest talents around.
“He has a great future, I think,” Willian told Arsenal Digital. “He can be one of the best players in the Premier League, no doubt.
“It’s because of his quality and also without the ball you can see that he is always trying to help his team and do the job without the ball. So I think he can be one of the best players.
Goal of the Season – 2019/20
1st place | Gabriel Martinelli v Chelseapic.twitter.com/Pw1s9pJhKf
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 18, 2020
“I think when he starts to play again, I know he is injured now, but when he starts again, it’s about time for him to go to the Brazilian national team.”
Willian joined Arsenal last week on a free transfer after departing London rivals Chelsea and has reunited with another of his countrymen, centre-back David Luiz.
The pair won four major honours together for Brazil and Chelsea, and Willian is hoping to achieve similar success at Emirates Stadium.
“He’s very happy,” Willian said. “We played together in the national team, we played together at Chelsea, and now at Arsenal again.
“I think we can do great things together, I hope so, but I’m very happy to be with him again.
“He said, ‘Come to Arsenal, come to Arsenal, I want you to come!’ So that was the conversation. He is a very nice guy, a top player and I’m very excited to play with him again.
“Of course [he helped in the past], many times. Many times when I had difficult times at Chelsea he was helping me a lot.
“He is this kind of person that wants to help, especially young players without experience. He is the guy that helps everyone.”
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