Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that Eddie Nketiah trains ‘harder’ than anyone else in the squad after the striker scored on his first appearance of the season on Wednesday night.
Nketiah played 83 minutes against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup third round, supporting Alexandre Lacazette in attack, and capped off the scoring in the 3-0 win.
The 22-year-old was linked with the likes of Crystal Palace and Brighton in the summer, which could have helped him get more regular playing time. But he ended up staying in north London and Arteta has praised the attitude that he has shown.
“I think Eddie gives us a lesson every day,” the boss said, via Arsenal.com. “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 team-mates in any circumstance.
“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.”
Whether Nketiah, whose only other game time this season came as captain of the Under-23 side earlier this month, keeps his place in the squad for the huge north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday remains to be seen.
Going into that game, Arsenal have won two in a row in the Premier League and are progressing in the Carabao Cup, which has created some positive momentum after a dreadful start to the season.
“It's really important because confidence raises competition and brings the best out of you, when you have difficult moments,” Arteta said.
“Now the boys have won three matches in a row so credit for how they have handled that situation and now they are really looking forward to playing on Sunday, which is the biggest day of the season for us so far at home.”