Mikel Arteta has said we should ‘blame him’ for Eddie Nketiah’s lack of minutes.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Dani Ceballos after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on September 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Will Oliver - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Dani Ceballos after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on September 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Will Oliver – Pool/Getty Images)

Eddie Nketiah has played a total of 1,113 minutes this season but hasn’t seen any action since his solitary minute against Manchester United on 30 January. In fact, he hasn’t even made a Premier League squad since then, either. In the league, he has seen just 319 minutes in 20/21.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Aaron Ramsdale and Nicolas Pepe hold back Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal after a foul on Bukayo Saka during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 18, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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“This is one of the hazards to leave someone like Eddie out of the squad, but at the moment everybody has been fit and we have so many options up front,” Arteta admitted.

“But it hurts as well because of how Eddie behaves and trains every day and because he’s a player from our academy, but he will have his chance.

“He needs to be patient and he’s showing no signs of lacking attitude or anything like that, it’s the complete opposite.

“He’s a joy to work with and he deserves minutes and if he doesn’t get it, it’s just my fault.”

Arteta was then asked if a lack of minutes would have an impact on Nketiah’s development, a sentiment with which he agreed.

“Yes there is because he needs to play and we’ve been wanting to use him a little bit more on some occasions and we didn’t,” Arteta said.

“To be fair, when he’s played, he’s played well, but at his age and for what he’s done the last two or three seasons, he needs more minutes.

“It’s something we have to talk about openly and make the right decision.”

Nketiah is out of contract in 2022 and rumoured to be one of eight players up for sale.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on February 28, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tim Keeton - Pool/Getty Images)

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