Tierney: 'Mind-blowing' Arsenal star Martinelli can be world class

Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney has gushed over the potential of Gabriel Martinelli, saying the Brazilian striker has what it takes to be a world-class player for years to come.

Martinelli was a relative unknown when he arrived in north London ahead of the 2019-20 season, joining the Gunners from Ituano in Brazil.

However, the 18-year-old quickly announced himself as a star of the future by scoring 10 goals in all competitions for the Gunners in the 2019-20 campaign, which is now on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Martinelli reached that total despite being often used as a substitute, with the teenager starting only 15 of his 26 total appearances.

Like Martinelli, Tierney signed for Arsenal ahead of the current season, joining from Celtic in his native Scotland. 

After arriving at the club, the 22-year-old said that there was one player in particular who stood out during his early training sessions with the Gunners.

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."

Tierney isn't the only Arsenal player to rave about Martinelli's potential, as Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said in January that his team-mate would be a "superstar."

If that wasn't enough, Ronaldinho has said that he sees similarities between Martinelli and legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo.

“He reminds me of Ronaldo his first season in Europe he scored 30 goals and people were thinking: ‘who is this 18 year old Brazilian kid?’" Ronaldinho said.