by Andrew Crawshaw
Edward Nketiah was born on May 30 1999 and is a 17 year old Striker. A lifetime Gooner, he joined Arsenal three years ago as a 14 year old schoolboy after being released by Chelsea. At the start of last season he became a first year scholar in our academy and is currently a young Professional having signed professional terms on the first of September this year.
Eddie is described by Jeorge Bird as a diminutive but quick striker, also capable of operating on the wing if required. That description is now somewhat misleading as Eddie has grown some; still small but no longer diminutive.
Last season he started 20 games with a further 8 as a substitute all in the U18 league where he was the leading goalscorer with 24 goals. He also made one start for the U21s but was unable to score.
He also had a great U19 competition in the Al Kaas cup in Qatar where he was one of the scorers (as well as one of our youngest players) as Arsenal ran out competition winners. Here is our report on the AlKass tournament
So far this year Eddie has continued his goalscoring at U18 level but has also added goals in the UEFA Youth League and at U23 level. His record is quite impressive – in all competitions he has 15 starts and one substitute appearances and has 16 goals (10 for the U18s, 3 for the U23s and 2 in the UEFA Youth League). He also has two hat-tricks, one in the U18 game against Leicester and one for the U23s also against Leicester. – (NOTE TO ARSENE: consider him for the next first team game against Leicester!)
His progress is such that he is one of the youngsters to feature in first team training sessions, a good guide to the progress of the younger players.
In it he says of his time last year
“I thought my first season as a scholar went well for me. I developed as a player and scored 28 goals in all.”
He also seems to be level headed and focussed on improving his game in order to get into the first team
“I signed a professional contract on September 1 and that showed the club had faith in me and gave me even more of a boost.
I achieved the contract through working hard and trying to keep improving, and as a professional that’s something that I’m determined to keep doing because it takes me a step closer to the first team and I know how high the standards are. I’ve trained quite a few times with the first team now and you see how everything is faster and sharper. Playing against strong defenders like Laurent Koscielny, you have to be concentrated and use good movement to get away from him.
The games I’ve played for the under-23s and the under-19s have been a great help too because it’s faster and a higher standard, you learn to be that much quicker and cleaner. My reactions are quicker and my work to help win the ball higher up the pitch has improved. My runs are better, so when I do drop back into the under-18s, it feels so much easier. It feels like I have a lot more time to express myself.
My targets this year are to try and play as many games for the under- 23s and under-19s as possible, and of course train as regularly as I can with the first team, because it all helps my development and, ultimately, my performances too when I play for the under-18s.”
It took Eddie a few games to find his scoring touch at each level, but once he has he shows no signs of easing up. 28 goals in all competitions in his first year and 16 in 15 starts this year indicate that he is a real talent and one to watch for the future.
Good luck to you for the future Eddie and may you stay injury free and keep banging in the goals.
From the anniversary files: a clerical favour called in to help get the lease on Highbury
7 December 1909: Henry Norris, acting as Mayor of Fulham, helped the Church Commissioners save face after there was public uproar over the Church’s decision to rent its land in a residential area to an oil storage company. The event undoubtedly led to a rapport (although with a different branch of the church) which Norris (by then Sir Henry Norris) used in his favour when renting Highbury.