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Nketiah backs himself to be Arsenal’s No.1 striker after proving worth during Gabriel Jesus’ injury absence

16:30 GMT+3 13/01/2023
Eddie Nketiah Arsenal 2022/23.
Eddie Nketiah is backing himself to be Arsenal’s No.1 striker on a short and long-term basis, with goals flowing while covering for Gabriel Jesus.
  • Brazil international ruled out of action
  • Academy graduate has stepped in
  • Believes he can retain starting berth

WHAT HAPPENED? The 23-year-old frontman was asked to step into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI when Premier League football resumed after the World Cup break, with Brazil international Jesus picking up an untimely injury in Qatar. Nketiah has made the most of his opportunity, netting four times in as many games for the Gunners across top-flight and FA Cup competition, and he believes he can nail down the starting spot up front.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed by Viaplay on whether he can be the Gunners’ No.1 frontman, Nketiah said: “Of course. I just signed a new contract, and I wouldn’t have if I didn’t believe I could play, and I am sure the coaching staff believe in me. I try to focus on helping the team and improving as a player. I am only 23, I have still got a lot of years to grow and improve. I wish [Jesus] a speedy recovery. We want him back and we need him back for the team. For myself, I just go about it game by game. I know what I can do, I know what I can bring to the team, and it’s just about working hard and giving my all to be able to show that and contribute.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nketiah is a product of Arsenal’s famed academy system and representing the club means more to him than most, with the all-time leading goalscorer for England’s Under-21 side hoping that he can make another decisive contribution in a north London derby date with Tottenham on Sunday. Nketiah added: “I have always been an Arsenal supporter and I joined the club at the age of 14. I understand the importance of the derby. I know what it means to the fans and we are going to give everything to go there and try and get the three points.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Arsenal are heading into the meeting with arch-rivals Spurs sat at the top of the Premier League table, but with Manchester City only five points off the pace in second and the chasing pack beginning to close in behind the reigning champions.