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21.07.2019 Football News

Eddie Nketiah Urged To Fight For First Team Spot Ahead Of New Season

By Samuel Ekow Amoasi Appiah

Arsenal manager, Unai Emery has challenged Ghanaian forward, Eddie Nketiah to stay at Arsenal and prove he is deserving of competitive first-team action.

The highly-rated forward continued his remarkable pre-season by scoring two goals against Fiorentina.

The 20-year-old has become the breakout star of Arsenal’s tour of the United States after notching three times in two games, including a late winner against Bayern Munich in midweek.

Nketiah was denied a loan move to Germany last season following an injury to Danny Welbeck and is wanted by a string of Championship clubs this summer.

Emery said Nketiah began the pre-season with doubts over whether his development would be better served by a loan move, but the Arsenal head coach has insisted that the club wants to give him first-team opportunities this campaign.

The Spanish tactician added that Arsenal have not attempted to sign another striker to replace Welbeck because of their faith in Nketiah.

“Last year in December we were thinking to loan him to Germany,” said Emery. “We decided he stays with us to train and progress with us. We started this pre-season with the same idea as we finished last year - stay with us. My idea is if you progress like we are seeing from you, you can have a chance here for us.

“I spoke with him and with the club. He has started with a doubt if it is better for him to stay here with us or leave to play more minutes with another team. But we have examples last year of some players who wanted away and didn’t play all we wanted.

“I said to him first be focused here. If you earn the right to be with us it’s because I can promise you that you are going to have minutes. But in those minutes you need to learn. And in the pre-season at the moment he’s playing like we want.”

If Nketiah left on loan, Arsenal would have no cover for leading strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, both of whom regularly start in attack together.

“Last year we had Auba, Lacazette and Danny Welbeck,” Emery said. “They had space to play. We didn’t sign another striker at the moment because we want to give the chances to Nketiah.”