After his excellent flicked finish against AFC Wimbledon on his return from injury, Eddie Nketiah has drawn praise from Mikel Arteta.

London, England, 1st August 2021. Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal during the Pre Season Friendly match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage SPI-1111-0117
London, England, 1st August 2021. Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal during the Pre Season Friendly match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Paul Terry / Sportimage SPI-1111-0117

Excluding Karl Hein and Arthur Okonkwo, Eddie Nketiah was the only member of the Arsenal senior squad not to have featured in a competitive fixture this season before Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old forward had been in good form in pre-season, but he picked up an injury in a positive display against Chelsea. As a result, he missed out on a number of early-season opportunities to show what he can do on the pitch.

On top of that, he entered the final year of his contract, he saw a potential transfer exit fall through, and he saw Folarin Balogun continue to emerge as a first-team contender behind him.

In that context, it was good to see Nketiah playing well and scoring a great goal in the League Cup on Wednesday. Mikel Arteta is certainly a fan of how the England u21 international has conducted himself.

“I think Eddie gives us a lesson every day in his professional should live in this job,” Arteta said.

“There’s been a lot of speculation around him, a lot of debate but he’s got his head down and trained harder than anyone else, he looks after himself and he supports all his teammates in any circumstance.

“So I am so happy for him, and it’s no coincidence that he’s able to perform at that level and physically how he manages the game, because he trains the best every day, so I am delighted for him.”

David Ornstein reported for The Athletic over the summer that Crystal Palace were ready to pay around £10m for Eddie Nketiah, a valuation shared by a German club that had already made two approaches for the player.

Arsenal were holding out for closer to £20m, and a deal didn’t go through in the end.

The Gunners had previously tried to extend Nketiah’s contract, without success. We’ll see if they try again in the coming months. As things stand, he’s leaving in 2022 as a free agent.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.