Carrow Road isn’t necessarily the most glamourous setting that English football can offer, but it will always retain a special place in the heart of one young Brazilian.
The East Anglian outpost of Norwich, while a substantial settlement in its own right, is hardly on the tongues of bare-footed youngsters kicking an improvised ball around in the favelas of Sao Paolo.
But friends and family of Marquinhos will be queuing to get Norwich-inspired tattoos after their hero scored on his debut for his temporary club.
The Arsenal loanee had already provided the assist for the Canaries’ opener against Cardiff on Saturday, before the yellow-shirted titans put together a move that flowed more than a Biggie eight-bar.
Oriel Hernandez twisted the Cardiff defence in knots before firing a cross into the penalty area, creating the kind of panic that’s normally the preserve of a flock of pigeons fleeing a toddler on a runaway tricycle.
One Norwich attacker tumbled over in his attempt to fire the ball home. Marquinhos would make no such mistake, firing a left foot shot in the goal without even breaking stride.
The composure and clinical nature of the finish should cause Arsenal fans to drool; such qualities were once the preserve of Gunners legend Ian Wright during his playing days.
Marquinhos scoring his first goal for his loan side Norwich today 🔥
— W0 (@Irish_Gooner) February 25, 2023
After suffering from a lack of game time following his summer move to England, playing just six times in all competitions and once in the Premier League, Marquinhos was granted a six-month move to Norwich during the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old scored on his Arsenal debut in the Europa League, and even registered an assist, but the teenager has struggled to make a consistent impact despite some excellent form in the Premier League 2.
Comparisons with Gabriel Martinelli are inevitable; not just because of the shared nationality, but Marquinhos’ tenchnical ability and penchant to drive opponents to distraction with his perservance.
“He’s a player that is very popular, with no English, just with his smile and attitude has won the respect and admiration of everybody here,” Mikel Arteta said after Marquinhos scored against FC Zurich last September.
“It was a big step for him as he hasn’t played enough minutes with us but we were willing to give him the opportunity, I think he deserved it.
“He took it really well and again, it’s another player that needs to keep developing, in order to do that we have to give them minutes and opportunities.”
Martin Keown went further in his praise, saying: “The first of many, hopefully. He’s got a huge future ahead of him.
“He looked a bit like a Gnabry type player. He’s short, stocky, explosive pace. He looked very classy.
“He picked and chose his moments cleverly, whipped a couple of crosses in. Really good quality. He kept on producing.”
Such reactions are inevitable when a player scores his first Arsenal goal. But Marquinhos’ first strike for Norwich was another hint at his immense potential.
By Michael Lee