Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that the club’s battles with injury and suspension were behind his decision to keep striker Eddie Nketiah at the club.
The highly rated 20-year-old was recalled from Leeds United after struggling for minutes, and it was initially thought that he would be loaned out to another side. However, Arteta decided against doing so and opted to keep Nketiah around for the remainder of the season.
“The circumstances changed as well with our team with the injuries with suspensions,” Arteta said.
“We are very short of numbers at the moment and we’ve got a player that has a lot of quality and can can help us.”
Nketiah is believed to have impressed Arteta in training ever since returning to Arsenal, and supporters were certainly excited to see the youngster come off the bench as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.
“I was very impressed with him. Everything I’ve seen in training I really liked and I think he’s grown a lot in terms of his loan and the environment is was working in,” Arteta said of his performance.
“That’s what the plan was. He was he was ready to make an impact we needed that energy. I think the team was starting to feel a bit lacking that and I made a decision to play him.”
With Aubameyang still suspended, many fans have called for Nketiah to start Tuesday’s London derby against Chelsea, and Arteta suggested that the 20-year-old could be given the nod.
“Every player has a chance to start. He is in the squad. We will assess who is in best conditions to play in who is training well and we’ll make the decision based on that,” he said.