Former Chelsea striker and now pundit, Tony Cascarino, believes Arsenal owe Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa a debt of gratitude when it comes to Eddie Nketiah.
The young striker wrote himself into the record books this week with another strike for the England under-21s, and will be pushing Alexandre Lacazette for a starting berth at Man City this weekend.
Nketiah has already got himself off the mark for the Gunners this term. Indeed, his performances have certainly gained Mikel Arteta’s trust.
And Cascarino, speaking for The Times, insists that Leeds and Bielsa had a big part to play in Nketiah’s recent success.
“I believe this attribute of Nketiah’s arose from his exposure to Marcelo Bielsa’s intense methods at Leeds. Arsenal under Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery were not the fittest team — they were a bit soft physically. So when Nketiah linked up with one of the most demanding managers in terms of physical conditioning, it was perhaps no surprise when he suffered an injury that kept him out for a month.”
“Although Leeds did not benefit particularly from Nketiah’s loan spell there, it did the player himself the world of good. It helped him reach a level of fitness that is very useful to Arteta, who has shown he believes in the player.”
The 21-year-old striker will be pushing to become the main man at Arsenal this season. At Leeds, he struggled to dislodge Patrick Bamford as the main man, although he did contribute in his time at Elland Road with five goals.
Sky is the limit for Nketiah – TBR View
Cascarino is bang on with his point about Leeds helping Nketiah out but aside from that, this is a striker who is going do very well over the years barring a disaster.
The Arsenal youngster looks every bit the natural goalscorer. Even his strike this season was that of a natural poacher.
Mikel Arteta knows he has a fine young player on his hands and don’t be surprised to see him as the starting number nine come May.