Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has been warned ‘no gifts are handed out’ at the top of the game as he fights for a place in Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side.

The young midfielder signed for Arsenal last summer but, after a bright start, has found himself playing more of a substitute’s role under Mikel Arteta.

That’s largely due to the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka establishing themselves in the heart of the Arsenal midfield, with Arteta going for experience over youth in that particular department.

While not a major issue, it is slightly concerning for Belgium as Lokonga is one of their next generation of talents they now want to bring in.

Embed from Getty Images

Het Laatste Nieuws look at him today and how Belgium boss Roberto Martinez ‘is a fan’ of the player, stating last year that ‘the talent of Sambi is extreme and his future is immense’.

He reportedly sees him as the successor to Axel Witsel in the number six role and has even made it clear that ‘he just needs to play’ to develop into the player everyone thinks he can be.

The problem is, he’s not getting that gametime at Arsenal at present. HLN say after a strong start, he has ‘lost his place’ at the Emirates and ‘wears out his match days’ sat on the bench instead.

He’s quickly learned that ‘at the top, no gifts are handed out’ and that has put a ‘brake in the development’ of the player this year.

That’s a problem as he already found himself on Belgium’s reserve list for the European Championships, and that will continue for Qatar this winter ‘if nothing changes in his situation’.

In other words, the Arsenal man absolutely won’t be a part of Belgium’s plans if he can’t find himself more regular game time moving forwards. Martinez is a fan, but he won’t be handing out places for free.