As I wrote which female Arsenal players will be representing their countries at the Olympics, it’s only correct that I acknowledge the sole male Gooner who will be playing in Tokyo.
Yet to be given a full cap by their senior team, Martinelli has been called up to represent Brazil.
Asked to train with the first team before Copa America, it’s another indication that he’s part of the nation’s long-term plans.
That’s a blow to Italy who are holding on to the hope that he will ask to represent them, based on that being where his Father was born.
He would have been joined by Gabriel, but the defender had to withdraw through injury.
The timing will frustrate Mikel Arteta who has yet to be able to pick the youngster for a consecutive run of games.
That’s been due to a few injuries, but now there’s a possibility the 20-year-old will be away from London until the 7th of August. That’s when the Gold Medal match is scheduled, less than a week before we kick off the Prem at Brentford.
Obviously, fitness won’t be an issue with the attacker playing competitive fixtures in Japan, but it’s not ideal to miss an entire pre-season where a manager will be introducing new ideas.
Already cautious not to overplay the Brazilian, it might be a case of him being gently introduced into the campaign.
Brazil won Olympic Gold in Rio, so an early exit this time is unlikely. Compared to other nations, Brazil take the Football Olympics very seriously. Up to 5 years ago it was the one prize that alluded them.
So a Gold medal for Martinelli would make him a household name in his homeland.
He’s one of only three English based talent in a 23-man squad, mostly made up of domestic based players.
The criteria is different than the Women’s criteria for squad selections. For the men, coaches can only pick three players over the age of 24.
16 teams are competing for medals, with 4 groups of 4. The Top 2 from each group go to knockout stages.
Brazil kick off at 12-30 (UK time) this lunchtime in a mouth-watering tie with Germany.
Good luck Martinelli. Show Arteta that you should be a regular starter this season…