After impressing in Arsenal’s Emirates Cup clash against Monaco, Nketiah is all set to replicate his performances from last season, all while drawing inspiration from Arsenal’s legendary ex-boss, Arsene Wenger.
- Eddie Nketiah is eager to lead Arsenal’s front line after the Gabriel Jesus injury.
- The young striker made nine consecutive starts last season in Jesus’ absence, scoring four goals.
- Nketiah draws inspiration from a conversation with Arsene Wenger, who was present at the Monaco match.
Nketiah ready to take the reins at Arsenal in wake of Jesus injury
Fresh from his inspiring performance against Monaco in the Emirates Cup where he wore the captain’s armband for the first time, Nketiah stands ready to reprise his influential role from last season.
Adding to his momentum, he recently shared a motivational exchange with the club’s former manager, Arsene Wenger.
The void left by Jesus
This unexpected news will see him miss the start of the season, creating a gaping hole in Arsenal’s offensive line.
Nketiah: A season of proving himself
During Jesus’ absence last season, Nketiah stepped in, making nine successive starts and netting four goals.
“Yeah [I did answer doubts last season] but I don’t think I’m here to fill in for anyone. I’m here to play and contribute to the team obviously, I believe in my abilities and I know I can contribute,” Nketiah said.
“I just really enjoyed it and was able to improve myself. I played some really big games and I was able to help and contribute.
“I pride myself on always being ready and whatever role the manager needs me to fill, I will always make sure I do my best so I can help the team — that’s what it’s all about.
“The manager has got a tough decision and whenever he calls me, he knows I can deliver and I can help the team.’
“We want him [Jesus] back as soon as possible. We need him, he is a big player for us.
“So whatever the manager does, we are all here to contribute and push to be out there to help the team.”
Never one to lack in confidence, Nketiah received further encouragement during an invaluable chat with his debut maker, Wenger, at the Monaco match.
“It was nice to really speak to Wenger, and he is obviously really proud of how far I’ve come since making my debut under him,” Nketiah shared.
“It’s amazing and it’s always good to pick his brain, he is a genius and we’re really happy that he’s been able to come, been able to catch up with him.
“I was speaking to him in the changing room after and he’s really proud of me. I’m really grateful for everything he did for me for my career, and it’s great to have such a legend here.
“He just told me to keep going. He thinks my game’s come on a lot since [he departed]. He’s really proud of me. Obviously, he’s seen me develop and watched me from when he first gave me my debut up until now.”
Despite the shoes he has to fill, Nketiah knows his role isn’t merely to substitute for anyone.
Believing in his abilities, he aims to make a significant contribution to the team, prepared to deliver when called upon.
Nketiah on being Arsenal captain for the night
“It was an amazing experience. Obviously it was my first time, so I’m grateful to the coach for trusting me, and my teammates,” said Nketiah.
“It was really a special moment for me to lead the team out in front of my family, my friends and also our wonderful supporters.”