Freddie Ljungberg says he feels sorry for Eddie Nketiah so far this season, suggesting he wants the loanee to get more chances.
Eddie Nketiah went on loan to Leeds United this summer, after starring for Freddie Ljungberg in the Arsenal u23s last season. The striker only started 10 games under Ljungberg – given his first-team squad call-ups – but he scored 10 goals and assisted four.
Nketiah is currently Leeds’ second-top scorer with five goals, but he’s yet to start a game in the Championship.
Part of that is down to a near month-long injury. Nketiah only made his comeback over the weekend, coming off the bench late against Middlesbrough. All the same, two starts and 11 substitute appearances in all competitions puts him in line for a recall.
Assuming Ljungberg is still in charge by January, he might get involved in making that decision. He gave his thoughts on the matter at a press conference this week.
“I need to be careful but I think Eddie is a great player,” Ljungberg said.
“If he goes on loan we want him to play football and get minutes otherwise they (players out on loan) can maybe be here. We want them to be on loan to get minutes.
“I feel a bit sorry for him because he is a great player and the future of this club. When he has had his chance he scores goals and that’s what he is about. I’ve been calling him (throughout the season) and he texted me as well two days ago.”
It’s good to hear that Ljungberg is in regular contact with Nketiah. He needs to stay updated on the striker’s own feelings about the situation, so they’re not making an uninformed decision in January.
If the 20-year-old isn’t playing more by the end of the month, though, you’d expect a recall. After that, whether he stays with Arsenal or takes another loan is just another decision they’ll have to make together.