Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli has discussed his training at Manchester United as a youngster and how it helped develop him for Premier League football.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough debut campaign with the Gunners last term, scoring 10 goals before his season was curtailed due to injury.
Having only recently returned from that knee problem, Martinelli has provided a spark that has helped to reignite a poor campaign for Mikel Arteta’s side.
It could have been far different for Martinelli, however, as he spent a number of years travelling to England to train with United.
The Brazilian teenager has now spoken about that experience and how it helped him develop for a move that eventually materialised in 2019.
“For three or four years, I used to practise at Manchester United. I would come to England, usually in the middle of the year, for about 15 or 20 days,” he told Sportsmail.
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Manchester United’s good form was punctured by a 2-0 Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Man City.
Goals from John Stones and Fernandinho secured a deserved win for City as United laboured at Old Trafford, losing a fourth semi-final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United will now refocus on their league campaign, though more immediately they have an FA Cup tie vs Watford to look forward to on Saturday night.
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“It was a great experience, because I could find how European players behaved, how they defend, how they attack, how fast it is in their game.
“I improved a lot and brought it all back with me to Brazil, always trying to secure my place in the team. My dream was to play in Europe and these practices in England helped me do it.”
Arsenal paid a fee of around £6m to sign the teenager from Ituano, with whom he signed as a professional at the age of just 16.