Tonight’s Emirates Cup win against Monaco was a dream night for Eddie Nketiah, who captained his team and scored our only goal of the game in front of a special person in his career - Arsene Wenger.
The striker was handed the armband by Mikel Arteta for our first outing at Emirates Stadium this season, and it was a moment he admits he’ll never forget with his friends and family in attendance, as well as his former boss.
Speaking about the occasion, he said: “It was an amazing experience. Obviously it was my first time, so I’m grateful to the coach for trusting me, and my teammates. It was nice to test ourselves against a good opponent and for myself, it was really a special moment for me to lead the team out in front of my family, my friends and also our wonderful supporters.
“It was very intense, there were a lot of transitions in the game. We’ve been training hard during the week as well, so it was good. Personally, I feel good, I feel fit; so, it was nice to get 82 minutes into my legs. I’m sure it’ll put me in good stead.”
To cap Eddie’s great night, in attendance was the man who gave him his Gunners debut. The attacker also found the net when Arsene was previously in the stands - on Boxing Day against West Ham United, and Eddie feels he could be a lucky omen!
“I’ll take him [here] next week as well if he can!” he laughed. “I was speaking to him in the changing room after and he’s really proud of me. I’m really grateful for everything he did for me for my career, and it’s great to have such a legend here and see a new statue outside.
“He just told me to keep going. He thinks my game’s come on a lot since [he departed]. He’s really proud of me. Obviously, he’s seen me develop and watched me from when he first gave me my debut up until now. Like I said I’m really grateful and it’s really good to see him around.”
Having seen plenty of pre-season come and go during his time at the club, Eddie is well-placed to gauge where our preparations stand.
He feels that we’re looking good coming off the back of a succession campaign, and hopes we can use Sunday’s Community Shield meeting with Manchester City to set down our stall this time around.
“We’ve added a lot of quality in the side, we’re all pushing each other, and it’s a good feel,” he revealed. “Everyone’s closer, everyone’s tight-knit, everyone wants to push and do well. We’ve had a really intense and strong pre-season, and now I think we’re ready for the season to come.
“[We have a] chance to start the season well with a trophy in our hands so hopefully we can do it for ourselves and for the fans. We’re looking forward [to it] – we’re going to recover; we’ve had a good game here and take it into Sunday and hopefully get the win.”
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