Unai Emery says he’s very happy with Eddie Nketiah’s ‘young energy’ and thinks the England under-21 international has a chance to make an impact for Arsenal this season.
The striker, who was recently promoted to the first team, has enjoyed the club’s pre-season tour so far scoring the winner in a nine-minute cameo against Bayern Munich before bagging a brace against Fiorentina last night.
While the boss admitted that Nketiah had enquired about the possibility of going on loan, something that nearly happened last January, he revealed he’s told the player to focus starting the season at the Emirates.
“I’m really happy,” replied Emery when asked about the Academy graduate in his post-game press conference.
“Last season in small moments when we could give him chances to be on the pitch, he did very well.
“I can confirm his progress and we want this progress with every player. Each player has the opportunity to show this capacity and above all first is a very good attitude.
“After this is that the young players need experience and they need to take minutes and to have confidence playing with us.
“The young energy is very important, especially Eddie Nketiah, he is playing and progressing very well.”
Nketiah came very close to a loan move to Bundesliga side Augsburg last season only for Emery to veto the decision due to a lack of back-up for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette.
Naturally, the youngster is eager to gain more experience, hence a similar conversation taking place this summer, but Emery has faith that game time can be earned without leaving the Emirates.
“Last year in December we were thinking of loaning him to Germany. We decided he would stay 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. And my idea is that if you progress like we are seeing from you, you can have a chance here for us.
He added: “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 to go away and didn’t play all we wanted. I said to him to 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.
“The young players who are here, this is the moment for them to show how we can use them to help us in the season.”