The 2016/17 campaign has been an unforgettable one for Arsenal’s Edward Nketiah.
Having impressed across the various age-groups, the teenage striker was given an opportunity to showcase his ability among more experienced players in the u23 set-up. Unsurprisingly, the former Chelsea forward made no mistake with his chance to shine.
With an exceptional 28 goals this season (all competitions), it’s undoubtedly a commendable achievement from a player who wants to continue his progression and gradually make the first-team breakthrough everyone craves.
Plenty of Arsenal supporters have caught their first glimpse of the 17-year-old, with many calling for him to be given a chance in the senior squad already.
Although his ability is undeniable, it’s important that his progression isn’t rushed too quickly. We all know what can happen to youngsters with impressive goalscoring records if they suffer one long-term injury, something the likes of Chuba Akpom and Benik Afobe know all too well.
It’s also easy to forget that Nketiah, who turns 18 next week, only has one full season of youth football under his belt at this current level.
He needs more experience and to establish himself as a mainstay within the u23s first as that will help equip him before the possibility of loan offers arrive from across England’s top four tiers.
Nketiah is agile, deceptively quick and clinical in-front of goal – his impressive record speaks for itself. However, decision-making and effectiveness when out of possession are two areas of his game that need enhancing before he can progress to the next stage in his development.
Looking forward, he’ll be naturally keen to emulate the success of Reiss Nelson and Stephy Mavididi over the past year or so.
Although the latter sustained a season-ending hamstring injury whilst on-loan at Charlton, his progression has been impressive in the same vein as Nketiah but he’s crucially added more to his game than just goals, something that Nketiah will be looking to improve upon when given the opportunity next season.