Kieran Tierney has heaped praise on Gabriel Martinelli when asked which of his Arsenal team-mates had impressed him in training after the defender arrived from Celtic back in August.
Martinelli was a relative unknown when he arrived in north London ahead of the 2019-20 season, joining the Gunners from Ituano in Brazil.
But the 18-year-old has quickly made a name for himself in the Premier League, and Tierney believes Martinelli has what it takes to become a world-class player.
During an ”Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit on Friday, Tierney was asked: “Who was the player you were most blown away by during your first few training sessions?”
“Gabriel Martinelli,” the Scotland international answered.
“When I first did a full training session with the team I was put up against him and the intensity of his play was honestly mind-blowing and I thought to myself, ‘This is the standard I need to be at to play for Arsenal.'”
Later in the Q&A session, Tierney was quizzed on which young Arsenal player could be a “world-beater” in the future.
“Again I would say Martinelli,” Tierney replied. “I think his hunger and drive and his talent together at one is more than enough to be a world-class player for many years.”
The teenager has scored 10 goals in all competitions for the Gunners, including three in the Premier League as former manager Unai Emery and current boss Mikel Arteta ease him into first-team action.
Tierney and Martinelli have forged a decent understanding down Arsenal’s left-hand side this season. But their partnership was put on hold shortly before Christmas when Tierney was hit with an injury setback.
He returned to full training towards the end of February, but his comeback has been placed on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic which has prompted football across the world to be suspended.