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'Nketiah is right to be upset' - Arsenal boss Arteta insists he doesn't feel under pressure to pick striker

5:21 PM GMT 19/04/2022
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The Gunners boss understands why the striker is frustrated at the Emirates

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta sympathises with Eddie Nketiah after the forward expressed his frustration at a lack of regular game time, but insists he does not feel under pressure to pick the 22-year-old.

Nketiah is out of contract this summer and it increasingly looks like he will move on after failing to secure a regular first-team place at Emirates Stadium.

The former England U21 forward has made six starts for the club this season, with just one of those coming in the Premier League.

What did Nketiah say?

Arsenal turned down offers for Nketiah both last summer and in the January transfer window, and hoped to tie him down to a new contract.

But talks over a new deal have so far failed to reach an agreement, with Nketiah now just weeks away from becoming a free agent.

The forward has now hinted that he is ready to move on in the summer to secure regular first-team football, telling the Beautiful Game podcast: “There have talks and offers of a new contract but at the moment my aim is to play football and play regularly.

“I feel like I’m at the stage where I’ve signed a contract for five years when I was 18 and in that five years, how many starts have I had here? I went on loan for six months and been here for the rest and I have probably started about 30 games maybe in all competitions.

“I see players my age that I’ve played with and they kick on and it’s like ‘what’s the difference between someone I was playing with at England Under-21s?”

How did Arteta respond?

Speaking about Nketiah’s comments at a news conference on Tuesday, Arteta said: “He is right to be upset. This is what we want from the players that haven’t had the minutes. Especially Eddie, because if there is a player in the dressing room that deserves more chances, that is for sure Eddie."

Asked whether he felt under pressure to play Nketiah because of his frustrations, the Spaniard added: “It’s not about pressure to play him, it’s about trying to put a team there that can win football matches, and you believe that has the best possible chance to win it.

“Then just pick the players, regardless of the situation. We could have gone for a completely different approach and played him even less or don’t give him any opportunities, or don’t put him in the squad.

“We have to treat every player with the duty that we have. They are our players, we want to get the best out of them. With Eddie I said many times as well how much I rate him. That the fact that we have big plans for him at this club for the future, and this is where we are today and we have to accept that reality.”

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