Arteta praises Nketiah, expects 21-year-old to be an ‘important part of the squad’
- Nketiah was a regular from the bench for Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds in the opening months of the season, though he did score a crucial winner against Brentford in August.
Arsenal manage Mikel Arteta has praised the impact of Eddie Nketiah, insisting the striker is an ‘important part of the Gunners squad’ as they chase Champions League football this season.
Nketiah, 21, was on loan at Championship leaders Leeds for the first half of the season, before being recalled by new manager Arteta, and he scored against Everton in the Premier League in February and Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round.
Having been an important player before the coronavirus lockdown, Nketiah could well play a starring role as the Premier League restarts on Wednesday, with the Gunners travelling to champions Manchester City.
‘We treat Eddie as an important part of our squad,’ Arteta said in a press conference on Monday.
‘We had to make an important decision not to let him go on loan again after the spell he had at Leeds.
‘I watched him train and I was very convinced he was the right player for us to move us to the next level, that he can contribute in a big way to the way we want to play. He has been fantastic so far.’
Ahead of Wednesday, Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League, eight points off fourth-placed Chelsea but only five points off Manchester United in fifth – a position which could be enough for Champions League football depending on the outcome of City’s appeal against their two-year ban from European football.
Nketiah was a regular from the bench for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in the opening months of the season, though he did score a crucial winner against Brentford in August.
Upon his recall by Arteta, his run of three goals in seven outings for Arsenal was thwarted with the pause in football in March.
Nketiah, who is an England Under-21 international, did play in Arsenal’s 3-2 friendly defeat against Brentford at the Emirates last week, and will be pushing for a starting berth as Arsenal travel to play City – a team they haven’t beaten at the Etihad since 2015.
Courtesy- Daily Mail
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