Tony Cascarino has made a bizarre claim in his weekly column for The Times about Arsenal’s energetic forward Gabriel Martinelli.
Following a 1-1 draw for the Gunners against Fulham at the weekend, the former top-flight striker has called on the 19-year-old to be savvier in the penalty area.
In an astonishing piece in this week’s edition of The Game inside The Times, Cascarino believes Martinelli has to start winning his team more penalties.
Fulham were handed a penalty following a VAR check at the weekend and the pundit thinks with a bit more intelligence, the Brazilian might have won one for his side.
He told The Times: “Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli is a 19-year-old with bags of talent who can make a big name for him in this game. But he needs to learn something quickly; how to go down and earn a penalty. If he doesn’t he is going to get criticised by his teammates and fans.
“Against Fulham, he rounded the goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and if he goes to ground at that moment he gets a penalty. He stays on his feet and the move ends with a Nicolas Pepe header.
“Martinelli is big and strong and likes to entice people into a challenge. That’s terrific but when those challenges are mistimed he has to make the best of it – he has to earn that penalty.
“He has to get five soft penalties a season; that should be his target. I hate that I am saying this and I hate the way penalties are with so many soft ones. But Martinelli has to wise up.”
TBR View: Absurd Cascarino comments no good for Martinelli
One of the £90,000-a-week star’s best traits is his honest determination and Mikel Arteta shouldn’t think about getting him to change that.
Cheating is one of the game’s grey areas and for someone as respected as Cascarino to come out and talk such nonsense is somewhat sad.
Blatant attempts to con referees need stamping out and press snippets of players being told to dive aren’t helpful.
Martinelli’s form since coming into the team has been pretty good. He scored in the game against Sheffield United recently and will hope to finish the season with a flourish.
The teenager would be wise to ignore Cascarino, continue working with Arteta and keep growing as a very accomplished Premier League player.