Mikel Arteta has so far been rewarded for placing his trust in some of Arsenal’s most talented youngsters.
The likes of Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have impressed since the Spaniard’s appointment, and there is a sense that the Gunners are building something for the future.
The club will be pleased with the development of striker Eddie Nketiah, too, particularly following his performance for England Under-21s two weeks ago.
The 21-year-old scored a 10-minute hat-trick in an emphatic 6-0 win over Kosovo, no doubt catching the eye of his club manager back home.
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It was a display of clinical finishing, intelligent movement and anticipation. And by now it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Nketiah has 11 goals in nine appearances for the Under-21s, only two behind leading scorers Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers, who both hit 13 at this level.
The Arsenal forward could comfortably surpass them, and though these numbers don’t guarantee future success (Jeffers is evidence of that), they are certainly encouraging.
Nketiah will probably feel that his performances for England warrant more regular game time for Arsenal. At 21, he’s no longer a newcomer. He’s a familiar figure at the club, now into his fifth year having signed from Chelsea in 2015.
Arteta, then, may well be considering giving Nketiah a more prominent role in the first team next season. He spent a large part of the last campaign on loan at Leeds, before returning and making a handful of appearances for the Gunners.
He is, of course, still unproven in the Premier League, still a nascent talent with plenty to learn. And his goalscoring record at club level isn’t quite as impressive: 13 goals in 56 competitive appearances for Arsenal and Leeds.
Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by his rapid…