Luke Ayling has told iSport that he believes Eddie Nketiah will go on to have a huge future at Arsenal throughout the course of his career, after the striker returned from his season-long loan spell at Leeds United.
Nketiah, 20, cut short his loan spell at Leeds just halfway through the spell due to a lack of starts. The England Under-21 international did manage 19 appearances for Leeds, scoring five goals – but he started just four matches for The Whites.
The striker returned to Arsenal and was supposedly set to go out on loan for a second time, with Bristol City, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday all reportedly keen. However, Arsenal have opted to keep Nketiah at The Emirates.
Speaking to iSport, former Arsenal trainee Ayling has claimed that Nketiah is a much better player than he was when coming up through the Arsenal academy – and has predicted Nketiah to have a huge future at the north London club.
“I didn’t really give him any advice. You know, he’s a much better player than I was at his age,” Ayling said. “He’s obviously come through the under-23s and he’s got a massive future there – I could see him going back and playing many for Arsenal.
“He’s a very good player, he can score a lot of goals, he’s just got a natural instinct for being in the right place at the right time.”
TBR’s view – Nketiah needs game time to maximise his potential
Mikel Arteta is said to have been impressed with Nketiah in training and that is said to have been factor in Nketiah remaining in north London. However, if he is to reach his highest potential, he needs regular game time.
The Gunners have four strikers on the books with Nketiah. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suspended, while Alexandre Lacazette is struggling to replicate his best form. Gabriel Martinelli is showing enormous signs of talent, at just 18 years of age.
Though Nketiah is fourth choice, he could have a chance at a handful of games with Arsenal still in the Europa League and FA Cup. It remains to be seen how much trust Arteta will place in Nketiah.