Noel Whelan says that Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli looked a cut above the quality of the Leeds United players in Monday night’s FA Cup clash.
The former Leeds forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits he was dazzled by the 18-year-old after he came off the bench in place of match-winner Reiss Nelson.
Manager Mikel Arteta started with French international Alexandre Lacazette leading the line in what was an experienced XI for the visit of the Championship side.
However, it was the teenage talent’s 23-minute cameo which caught the eye of Whelan, insisting that the Gunners have got a special talent on their hands.
Asked which Arsenal player looked a cut above Leeds, Whelan told Football Insider: “Martinelli, I think. When he came on I was really impressed with him.
“He’s got fantastic feet, he’s very dangerous, he’s very busy. You can see why he’s scored eight goals this season already.
“He’s going to be a real future superstar I think for Arsenal.”
The teenage striker, who can also play as a winger on either flank, had started the season being used primarily in the cup competitions, all but one of his eight goals coming in the League Cup or Europa League.
However, he started and played the full 90 minutes in three successive games in December, a hamstring injury forcing him to the sidelines since Boxing Day.