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‘Fantastic’ – Arteta heaps praise on Arsenal fringe man

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks to be showing faith in striker Eddie Nketiah and has hinted the youngster will be involved in the first-team picture until the end of the campaign.

The 21-year-old started the Gunners last three league matches before the coronavirus put a halt to the season and scored during the 3-2 win over Everton at the end of February.

Nketiah started the season on loan at Championship side Leeds United and scored five goals in 19 appearances for the Whites but was only used sparingly by boss Marcelo Bielsa and was later recalled by Arsenal in January.

It was expected the forward would leave again on loan but Arteta had other ideas after casting his eye over him and it seems that his future is with the north London outfit.

“We treat Eddie as an important part of our squad,” Arteta said in a press conference on Monday as reported in The Mirror.  

“We had to make an important decision not to let him go on loan again after the spell he had at Leeds.

“I watched him train and I was very convinced he was the right player for us to move us to the next level, that he can contribute in a big way to the way we want to play.

“He’s been fantastic so far”.

Arteta has preferred Nketiah ahead of France international Alexandre Lacazette and with questions over the future Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the England U21 international looks likely to be a regular first-team player for a while yet.

The striker has scored six times in 26 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions since making his professional debut in a Europa League tie in September 2017.

The Gunners resume their season on Wednesday with a trip to reigning champions Manchester City before heading to face Brighton & Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday.

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