Eddie Nketiah enjoyed a hugely impressive season at club level as he edged ever closer to fulfilling his ambition of succeeding at Arsenal and the extremely talented forward is also continuing to make strides on the international stage.
Having represented England at various age groups, Nketiah, who only turned 19 this week, was included in the Three Lions’ squad for the Toulon Tournament.
After being an unused substitute for England’s first group game against China, Nketiah was given his U21 debut in the subsequent fixture against Mexico and, despite the game ending in a goalless draw, he didn’t disappoint.
Nketiah’s clinical nature in front of goal is well documented, but the prospect also deserves much recognition for his hold-up play, which is of a remarkably high standard.
Furthermore, Nketiah is extremely fast, as the struggling Mexico defence found out, leading to players, at various intervals, fouling the Arsenal youngster having simply been unable to cope with his threat.
Nketiah was deployed on the left wing against Mexico, a position which he is very familiar with, and he will be looking to receive further game as he aims to help England win this prestigious tournament.
Despite his involvement in this competition, Nketiah will still be able to have a full pre-season at Arsenal and it will be intriguing to see what the plan is for him under the new regime.
Towards the end of last season Nketiah was perhaps the youngster who was closest to the first-team squad and now he will be seeking to gain further experience of senior football in some capacity, whether at Arsenal or out on loan.
One thing that is for certain is that Nketiah is certainly too good for U23 football now and has been for some time. That much was evident as he helped Arsenal’s youngsters to clinch the Premier League 2 title with a victory away to West Ham last month.
When he featured for the first-team towards the end of last campaign, Nketiah was often brought on in the closing stages of matches and it proved rather difficult for him to make a major impact in such little time.
Nketiah will aim to make further, and hopefully more sustained, first-team appearances next campaign but if he goes on loan then he is certainly capable of thriving if sent to a team that suits his playing style.
Whatever transpires, it looks set to be another interesting season for one of Arsenal’s standout prospects.