In Young Guns, featured first in the official matchday programme, we find out about the next generation of Arsenal youngsters, in their own words. This week we spoke to forward Eddie Nketiah.
The day Arsenal showed they were interested in me was one of the happiest days I can remember. It wasn’t only because I’ve always been an Arsenal fan, but two days earlier I was told that I would be released by Chelsea and not given a scholarship for this season. I was so down, but then Arsenal found out I was available, contacted my family and invited me to train.
There was a massive swing in my emotions and I turned up for training feeling enthusiastic and comfortable in my surroundings. Not only were all the coaches helpful, a lot of the Arsenal players were already friends so I fitted in very quickly. Within a week I was told that I would be offered a scholarship so I was elated.
I think it is important to bounce back quickly from disappointment and Arsenal gave me the opportunity to do that. Now I feel that I have to make the most of every second in training and in games to ensure I can become the best player I can be.
I’ve always been a striker. Chelsea scouted me when I was nine years old when I was playing in a tournament for my Sunday team, called Hillyfielders. I scored a lot of goals in that tournament and they signed me straight away.
I have good pace but I’d say my finishing is my strength. I do practise my finishing a lot and that helps me to be even more instinctive and able to make better choices in a split second. I believe I’m an instinctive finisher and the key is being able to be calm and composed in front of goal, which ensures I never rush my shots.
It’s about timing, and choosing the right type of finish. I score a good percentage of my chances and that comes through a combination of practice, instinct and confidence and everything is going well at the moment. I’m paying particular attention in training to improving my heading from set plays.
I also like to get involved in pressing the opposition high and early. That’s encouraged at Arsenal but that’s how I’ve always been. It’s seen as a defensive job for the striker, but I see it very much as a part of my attacking game.
"So far I feel that I’m on the right track"
Firstly, anything we do to get the ball back quickly and keep the ball in the opposition half means we can create opportunities. Secondly, I’ve scored a lot of goals over the years where I or my team-mates have pressured defenders into a mistake and gone on to score from it.
I like to learn from other strikers. When growing up it was always Thierry Henry when he was with Arsenal. In recent years I’ve watched Luis Suarez a lot. I think he is a very efficient striker who I learn a lot from.
I’ve scored quite a few goals since joining Arsenal and I’ve been happy with the season so far, after a good pre-season. I scored twice against AC Milan for the Under-19s, which helped give me a boost.
There’s a good spirit among the Under-18s and we’ve started quite well. My aim is to establish myself as a regular and do as well as I can to try and feature in the FA Youth Cup squad and Under-19 UEFA Youth League. So far I feel that I’m on the right track.
three of each
...positions I can play in: 1) Striker 2) Left wing 3) Right wing
...best aspects of my game: 1) Movement 2) Finishing 3) Dribbling
...things I can improve on: 1) Heading 2) Transitional Responses 3) Game management
...players I’m similar to: 1) Luis Suarez 2) Sergio Aguero3) Thierry Henry
...footballing heroes: 1) Lionel Messi 2) Luis Suarez 3) Thierry Henry
...favourite foods: 1) Jollof rice 2) Spaghetti bolognese 3) Rice and chicken
...best friends: 1)Nathan Tella 2) Joe Willock 3) Trevor Chalobah
...choices for your squad number: 1) 9 2) 11 3) 10
...most used Apps on your phone: 1) Instagram 2) Snapchat 3) Youtube
...favourite TV series: 1) The Simpsons 2) Empire 3) Power
...tracks on your ultimate playlist: 1) Young Thug, With That 2) Yxng Bane, Pronto 3) Drake, Legend
Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.