December 19th was the last time Eddie Nketiah started a Premier League game. Since that 2-1 defeat to Everton, he has made just three appearances in the 22 games Arsenal have played.
He hasn’t even made the squad for a domestic fixture since the 0-0 draw against Man Utd on January 30th, but did make the bench for three of the four Europa League knock-out games we’ve played so far.
It’s fair to say his stock has fallen considerably – at one point he was actually our leading goalscorer in all competitions – and the striker admits it’s been a tough time.
However, having been named captain of England U21s, he’s viewing that as a real chance to remind people of what he can do.
“It’s been a difficult for last month or so,” he said. “I haven’t played as much as I would have liked. I have been working hard and being dedicated which adds to the frustration but I have a great opportunity.
I have a big tournament ahead of me. In life there are always opportunities in front of you.
The captaincy is a big responsibility. I’m grateful to have this opportunity, have fun and do my best to help the country achieve something special.”
The U21s have three games in the European Championship finals group stage this week, starting with Switzerland today, Portugal on Sunday, and then Croatia on Wednesday.
Eddie, perhaps assisted by Arsenal teammate Emile Smith Rowe, will be looking to extend his record as the record goalscorer for England at that level, and perhaps put himself back into the thoughts of Mikel Arteta.
In all likelihood though, scoring goals will open up opportunities for him this summer as, with just 12 months left on his contract at that point, a decision needs to be made about his future.
Arsenal have not yet looked to extend his deal, so he may well be up for sale at the end of the season.