Eddie Nketiah came off the bench to net with almost his first kick in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash against Norwich tonight.
But who is the young striker who has made such an impact?
Well, he’s the young man who netted twice against the Canaries to put Arsenal in front and save Arsene Wenger’s blushes.
The striker was hoping to get a chance against League 1 opponents Doncaster in an earlier round of the cup.
It didn’t happen that night, but speaking ahead of the game Arsenal boss Wenger was full of praise for the young attacker.
He said: “I like the quality of Eddie’s movement, the quality of the areas he gets into, his strength, his determination to finish things off and his work rate as well.”
He then made his debut against BATE Borisov in the Europa League – coming on for Joe Willock in the 4-2 victory.
But he didn’t make as big an impact as he did against the Canaries.
What exactly is Nketiah and what is the story behind the 18-year-old’s career so far?
The Chelsea years
Nketiah started out with London rivals Chelsea progressing through the ranks as a scholar.
But he was told by the Blues that he was being released in 2015 – a move that prompted Arsenal to pounce.
The Gunners invited the young striker in for a trial and within a week he had been signed up by the Gunners on scholarship forms.
A superb start to life in north London
Having signed for Arsenal – the club he supported as a boy – Nketiah quickly established himself in the Under-18s side.
He was soon finding the net on a regular basis, catching the eye of everyone behind the scenes at London Colney.
Nketiah ended the 2015/16 season as the top scorer for the U18s, he scored 24 goals in 28 appearances.
Making the step up
Nketiah’s impressive form for the U18s saw him promoted to the U23s set up for the 2016/17 campaign.
He scored more than 20 goals throughout the season at both levels – earning himself a spot on the plane for Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Australia and China, where he featured against the likes of Sydney FC, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
A first professional contract
Nketiah’s stunning goalscoring form this season saw him rewarded with a first professional contract.
He signed it in September 2016 – committing his long-term future to Arsenal.
He said: “I achieved the contract through working hard and trying to keep improving, and as a professional that’s something that I’m determined to keep doing because it takes me a step closer to the first team and I know how high the standards are.”
Nketiah has been training with the first-team on a fairly regular basis this season has progressed.
Now he’s got two senior goals to his credit just after coming on against Norwich.
Arsene Wenger will continue to allow him to mix with the senior players at the club – but a loan move, possibly as early as next season, looks a certainty as Arsenal plot the next stage of his development.
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