View: Neymar injury opens door for Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli to shine at World Cup with Brazil
Arsenal youngster Garbriel Martinelli should be hopeful of more game time at the Qatar World Cup following an ankle injury to Neymar in their opener against Serbia.
Brazil were fantastic as they romped to a confidence-boosting 2-0 win on Thursday 24 November, but the night was somewhat marred by the ankle injury to their talisman Neymar.
After limping off the pitch, the PSG forward was visibly in tears and emotional on the bench for the remainder of the game as he was tended to by medical staff.
The extent of the 30-year-old’s injury will be confirmed over the next 48 hours, according to team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar, and the attacker is due to head for a scan on his troublesome right ankle.
Although the news comes as a huge blow to millions of Brazil fans back home, it might have opened the door for Martinelli to stake his claim for a position in the starting XI.
Although coach Tite has several options in attacking areas including, Antony, Real Madrid’s Rodrygo and Bruno Guimaraes – few of these players can match the blistering form of the 21-year-old winger.
The Gunners forward only made his debut for the South American giants as a substitute against Chile in March but has climbed the ranks in dramatic style following Arsenal’s flying start to the season.
Tite is said to be impressed with the winger in two other short cameos for his national side and, consequently, he made the tournament squad ahead of the likes of Liverpool’s Robert Firmino.
A starting position against Switzerland may await Martinelli if he can prove himself worthy in training over the next few days, with right winger Raphinha also struggling to impress last night and missing a host of gilt-edged chances.
The youngster is Tite’s joker in the pack, the surprise package that could impact this tournament the further Brazil progress through it.
Even from the bench, Martinelli is a serious threat to opposition defences, and if Neymar’s injury is worse than first feared, it could fall on the Arsenal forward to fill his berth.