Eddie Nketiah has reiterated that every player wants to have opportunities, but swerved a question about his Arsenal future after his latest brace.
Nketiah’s future was looking to lie away from Arsenal not so long ago as the end of his contract nears. But a recent return to prominence in Mikel Arteta’s starting lineups has led to fresh speculation over what will come next.
The striker has spoken openly about wanting regular gametime as he approaches the age of 23. For months, it has seemed like he will be more likely to find it by leaving Arsenal as a free agent.
However, Arteta has been giving him more of a chance in recent weeks – and Nketiah has delivered. It all began with a rare start in a defeat to Southampton, before he kept his place four days later against Chelsea on April 20th.
The reward was a brace in a 4-2 win that furthered Arsenal’s European ambitions. Since then, he has been Arteta’s go-to centre-forward.
Nketiah then drew blanks against Manchester United and West Ham. But he was back among the goals in a 2-1 win over Leeds United on Sunday.
Punishing the club he was once on loan at, Nketiah scored twice within the first 10 minutes. His first goal saw him dispossess keeper Illan Meslier and finish first time, before his second was another one-touch finish, this time with his left foot.
Thanks to their three points, Arsenal are now just one win away from securing a top-four finish. Tottenham would not be able to catch them if the north London derby on Thursday goes in the Gunners’ favour.
Nketiah has eventually played his part and is glad to be thriving as a starter.
‘Closer to our objective’
“It’s amazing. It’s always nice to score, but I think it’s a big three points, like I said before the game,” Nketiah told Sky Sports.
“We’ve been working hard and we want to do it for the fans.
“It’s amazing to be able to get the three points and it moves us closer to our objective.
“Any player wants to be playing and have the opportunities. I’ve worked hard throughout the season to make sure I was ready when I got my chance.
“Credit to my teammates for helping me when I play and do what I want.
“I’m just happy to be in the team and helping the team.”
Nketiah avoids contract question
The interview then took a turn when Nketiah was asked if the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium could convince him to sign a new contract with the club.
But the England under-21s all-time record scorer ignored the contractual part of the question, instead simply praising the Arsenal crowd.
“It’s a great atmosphere here and I think it’s been excellent throughout the whole season,” he responded.
“(I) really feel the connection between the players and the fans.
“It’s amazing to be involved and we are giving our all to make them happier and achieve our objective.”
Nketiah has now scored nine goals from 25 appearances for Arsenal this season, including four from 18 in the Premier League. His overall record for the club reads 22 goals from 89 games.