Darren Bent has praised the quality of Leeds United attacker Eddie Nketiah, but suggested he should assess his future in January due to a lack of minutes at Elland Road.
The England Under-21 international moved to the Yorkshire club in the summer on a season-long loan from Premier League giants Arsenal and is a highly-rated talent.
He’s impressed with four goals in nine appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side so far, but has not yet started a single Championship fixture and is stuck behind teammate Patrick Bamford in the pecking order.
Nketiah is a centre-forward that excels with finishing in the penalty area and scored a hat-trick for England’s Young Lions on Tuesday in a 5-1 win against Austria.
Bent, who was appearing as a pundit on talkSPORT, believes that the 20-year-old is a special talent with natural ability.
But he is concerned about the striker’s lack of opportunities and feels it could be wise for the Arsenal loanee to look at his situation in the New Year.
“Arsenal are probably looking at this situation and going, ‘We really believe in this kid, but he needs to be playing games’. Maybe in January he has to look at going somewhere else,’ Bent told talkSPORT.
“He always picks up positions on the pitch where he’s going to score. People might say, ‘He’s only scoring tap-ins’. But in the box, when it’s loaded with players, he always seems to be the one who finds two or three yards of space and taps it in the net. You can’t coach that.”
Nketiah looks like he could force his way into the squad when he returns to Arsenal next season and Leeds need to make the most of him while he is on loan.
It would be a disaster if the striker exits in January, as they would find it extremely difficult trying to find a replacement with such natural finishing.
Bamford is certainly doing a great job in leading the line at Elland Road, but ultimately his end product is suspect and they have in reserve someone that could put away a lot of the chances they create.