For all the plaudits received by the club’s summer signings at youth level so far this season, the performances of an internally-produced talent have gone rather unnoticed.
Edward Nketiah, a hard-working forward who is a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, hasn’t always been a regular starter for the club at U18 level this campaign. But when he has featured the youngster has usually found the net.
Nketiah is Arsenal’s top scorer in the U18 league so far this season with six goals, with the 16-year-old demonstrating his ability to finish well when under pressure.
The youngster’s link-up play is also impressive, whilst his hard-working nature ensures that Nketiah is well regarded within the Arsenal set-up.
He does, though, face a considerable battle for a place in the team, with Dutchman Donyell Malen currently the first-choice centre-forward for Frans De Kat’s U18 side.
As the season progresses, however, Malen may well start to become involved at U21 level which could in turn enable Nketiah to enjoy a prolonged run of games up front for the U18s.
- [Team news] Arsenal v Rapid Vienna line up – Arteta to rotate as fans return
- Two signings set in January as Arsenal give Arteta ‘vote of confidence’
- Norwich star says it ‘depends’ on club if Arsenal can sign him
Last season, when Nketiah was making his initial in-roads into the U18 side, he featured mainly on the left flank and fared well in that position. This campaign, however, he has demonstrated that he is more at home as a striker and will be seeking to build upon his impressive start.
Nketiah’s next objective will be to earn his first professional contract at the club, but he has plenty of time on his side in which to achieve that aim. For now he is simply focusing on making as substantial an impact as he can for the U18s, whilst being hopeful that further opportunities will follow in due course.
Nketiah was once on Chelsea’s books, but he is now very much an Arsenal player, and the initial signs that he has demonstrated this season have been very encouraging indeed.