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Chelsea star backs "arrogant" Arsenal player to shine at World Cup

Rory O'Callaghan

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Chelsea star backs "arrogant" Arsenal player to shine at World Cup

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has backed Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli to shine at the World Cup, claiming his Brazil teammate has the "arrogance" needed to be a top player.

Martinelli is one of two Arsenal players to be included in Brazil head coach Tite's squad, along with striker Gabriel Jesus.

The Gunners winger could make his World Cup debut when Brazil take on Serbia in their opening game of the tournament on Thursday.

And Chelsea defender Silva believes the 21-year-old has already proved he is good enough to play for the national side after impressing for Premier League leaders Arsenal this season.

Silva: Martinelli is special

"You can see the connection they've had this season with Arsenal – it's a big reason why they're top of the Premier League," Silva told The Mirror.

"Jesus, we've known about his quality for a long time, but Martinelli is really showing what he's about.

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"He's playing without fear and, if he gets the chance to play, I don't think it will faze him and he'll just do what we know he can do.

"I think all attacking players at the top level need that little bit of arrogance – that they know they can do something special – and he has that."

Martinelli's inclusion in Brazil's World Cup squad has not been without controversy, however, with one high-profile pundit describing it as a "joke".

Former Brazil international Neto slammed Martinelli's call-up and claimed Tite should have named Flamengo's Gabigol in his squad instead.

"This is a shame, a joke! I feel ashamed! Not because of Dani Alves' story. What is Martinelli's story? 33 career goals," Neto, speaking on Os Donos da Bola, said.

"This is a shame, a lack of respect for football. Doing this with football shows that you don't deserve the position you are in.

"Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol is a lack of respect. The biggest shame of all the call-ups."

Brazil are currently the bookies’ favourites to win the tournament, with England now second following Argentina’s shock defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Brazil, Gabriel Martinelli, Thiago Silva, Football, Football World Cup, Arsenal, Chelsea

Rory O'Callaghan
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