Mikel Arteta finally breaks silence on brilliant Marquinhos Arsenal debut

    Marquinhos made a decisive contribution on his Arsenal debut against FC Zurich last week
    Marquinhos made a decisive contribution on his Arsenal debut against FC Zurich last week (Picture: Getty)

    Mikel Arteta has hinted Marquinhos is ready to play a role in Arsenal’s Premier League side after impressing on his club debut against FC Zurich last week.

    The least heralded of Arsenal’s summer signings was expected to be loaned out following his arrival from Sao Paulo, but Mikel Arteta was forced to change his plans after the Gunners failed to sign another winger.

    Arteta and technical director Edu explored the possibility of signing Raphinha from Leeds United and Pedro Neto from Wolves, but were ultimately left frustrated in their attempts to sign a player capable of offering competition and back-up for Bukayo Saka.

    As a consequence, Marquinhos was handed an opportunity to impress against Swiss opposition and seized the chance with both hands, scoring after just 12 minutes, before laying on the winning goal for Eddie Nketiah with a pinpoint cross.

    Arteta was denied the opportunity to assess the 19-year-old’s performance in the immediate aftermath of the match with Arsenal opting to cancel their media duties in light of Queen Elizabeth’s death which had been confirmed shortly before kick-off.

    Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against Brentford, however, Arteta was finally able to wax lyrical about the talented forward who has impressed with his attitude as much as his ability on the ball.

    ‘I was looking more at the faces of the rest of the staff and players,’ said Arteta when asked for his response to Marquinhos’s emotional reaction to scoring his first Arsenal goal.

    ‘He’s a player that is very popular, with no English, just with his smile and attitude has won the respect and admiration of everybody here.

    ‘It was a big step for him as he hasn’t played enough minutes with us but we were willing to give him the opportunity, I think he deserved it.

    ‘He took it really well and again, it’s another player that needs to keep developing, in order to do that we have to give them minutes and opportunities.

    Marquinhos burst into tears after scoring his first Arsenal goal
    Marquinhos burst into tears after scoring his first Arsenal goal (Picture: Getty)

    Arteta wasn’t the only one impressed with the Brazilian’s contribution, with Martin Keown comparing Marquinhos to former Arsenal forward and current Bayern Munich star Serge Gnabry.

    He said: ‘The first of many, hopefully. He’s got a huge future ahead of him.

    ‘That’s a real opportunity now ahead of him. Bukayo Saka is only a couple of years older himself, but such is the quality he’s going to get chances.

    ‘He looked a bit like a Gnabry type player. He’s short, stocky, explosive pace. He looked very classy.

    ‘He picked and chose his moments cleverly, whipped a couple of crosses in. Really good quality. He kept on producing.

    ‘I think it’s great news. We’ve seen Saka, we’ve seen Smith Rowe in this very competition start their careers. I think we’re seeing another star here in the making.’

    MORE : Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reveals how Gabriel Jesus has reacted to being axed by Brazil

    MORE : Steven Gerrard praises Mikel Arteta for ‘stepping forward’ in tough times at Arsenal

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