Kevin Campbell is baffled by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s continued snub of Gabriel Martinelli.
The former Gunners striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he was “crying out” for the 19-year-old to start in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals against Slavia Prague.
However, Martinelli was only utilised as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Thursday – replacing Willian after 73 minutes.
As quoted by Football.London last month, Arteta lauded the Brazilian forward who “trains incredibly well every day” but warned he “needs to be patient”.
Martinelli has not started a game since his manager’s comments and has been named in the starting XI just twice in all competitions this calendar year.
Campbell heaped praise on the teenager who he believes is best utilised as a winger.
“We have been crying out for Gabriel Martinelli,” he told Football Insider‘s Tai Kolade.
“I want to see him play because he is full of energy and that is what this team misses.
“Let him have a go, it’s not as if the others are firing on all cylinders.
“Last week against Liverpool, that was not Arsenal, that was a shadow of the side I know. We were better last night but the result… We need to play these games and have a go.
“Martinelli should be playing out on that left-hand side, that way he can utilise his pace and energy. He isn’t built to play down the middle at the moment, he’s a wide player for now.”
Mikel Arteta’s side travel to Bramall Lane on Sunday before the return leg of their crunch encounter with Slavia Prague.
Martinelli will be hoping to receive his first start since 30 January in one of those fixtures.