Aidy Boothroyd believes Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah could follow in the footsteps of Alan Shearer and Harry Kane and become a senior England star.
Nketiah is on the brink of surpassing Shearer and claiming the record as England Under-21s’ all-time leading goalscorer.
The 21-year-old Gunners star drew level with the mark of 13 set by Shearer and Francis Jeffers when he scored in last week’s 3-3 European Championship qualifying draw in Andorra.
Shearer became senior England captain and scored 32 goals for the national side and Boothroyd believes comparisons with him, as well current skipper and frontline forward Kane, are valid.
The England Under-21s manager said: “There are always comparisons with top players over generations.
“If you look at Alan and the career he had and Harry Kane and the career he is having – where Eddie is concerned, if he can get to the point where, like those two players, he’s in on goal and you just know he is going to score, that’s when you make the step from young player to senior player.
“He’s not quite there yet but he’s not far off. The fact he is in the company of those players that I’ve mentioned shows how much I think of him and how much we think of him in the system.
“He’s destined for some big things. He has an aura of responsibility and leadership about him. He is a natural. He’s very professional as well.
“If you were going to put someone up there as ‘this is what you want young England players to look like’, then it would be him.”
Nketiah will have a chance to break the record against Turkey at Molineux on Tuesday, when a victory would see England through to the UEFA Under-21 Championship with two games to spare.
Martinelli gives injury update
Gabriel Martinelli says he is close to returning to using the ball in training as the Arsenal striker continues his recovery from injury.
Martinelli enjoyed a breakout season with Arsenal in 2019-20 after joining from Ituano in Brazil last summer. The teenage striker scored 10 times in his first year in English football.
However, his season came to an abrupt end when he suffered a knee injury during training in June. It has put him on the sidelines for a number of months.
Now, though, the Brazilian has given a promising update about his return to action – insisting there is a lot to look forward to under Mikel Arteta.
“I’m feeling very well, I’m regaining confidence and I can feel my knee is better,” he told www.arsenal.com.
“After an injury like this you are kind of scared to force the knee again but the past couple of weeks it has been fine and soon I can start training with the ball.” Read more…