NOW IS THE TIME TO BRING ON EDDIE NKETIAH by Deinma James
The Arsenal striker, Danny Welbeck, has had surgery on his broken ankle. Welbeck, who suffered the horrific injury in Arsenal’s Europa League goalless draw with Sporting CP had been named in the England squad for the friendly against the United States and the UEFA Nations League match against Croatia. The 27-year-old (28yrs later this month) Englishman has scored 5 goals across all competitions this season; 1 in the Premier League, 2 in the Carabao cup, and 2 in the Europa League. With his expected return date from injury unknown, Arsenal look well to cope in his absence, as they have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexander Lacazette, and can now add highly rated Arsenal youngster, Eddie Nketiah, in the mix.
Eddie Nketiah is just 19 years of age, has featured for Arsenal’s U18 and U23 sides. He operates more like a ‘Fox in the box’. He is fast, can get behind opposition defenders, finishes well, and has a very impressive goalscoring record. He has scored 24 goals in back-to-back seasons at youth level. He has featured in the Premier League, Europa League and FA cup, and has also scored 12 in 13 Premier League 2 appearances. At the international level, he scored for England U21 in their 3-1 victory over Scotland in June this year. He also scored in Arsenal’s 5-1 hammering of PSG during pre-season.
Eddie became the first player born after Arsene Wenger’s arrival to score for the club. He made his mark in the 2017/18 season scoring twice in Arsenal’s 2-1 League Cup win over Norwich City. The 19-yr-old Englishman is highly regarded by Emery’s predecessor, Wenger: “He can score goals. I know his quality but when the team needs you and you can deliver that’s another quality. I know Nketiah can score a goal. And I know he has character. He smells the combination to give-and-go. He has the quality of reception”.
He was an unused substitute in the Gunners’ Premier League 1-1 draw with Wolves at the Emirates. Unai Emery’s comments after Welbeck’s injury suggests Eddie Nketiah will get opportunities this season. “The first (choice) is to look inside, and we have one striker also who is working well with the under-23s and is improving also, Eddie Nketiah, and he could have chances. But I think it’s early for speaking about the possibility (of signings in January).” Emery said.
Will Eddie Nketiah replicate his prolific goalscoring form at youth level in the senior team? Only time will tell.
With Welbeck already sidelined for several months, the Gunners will have a congested fixture list in the Premier League in December, as will other Premier League clubs. There is no better time than now to bring on Eddie Nketiah. Sooner rather than later, Eddie will definitely get valuable game time in the Premier League and Europa League to prove his mettle.