Arsene Wenger has lauded Eddie Nketiah as the Englishman has “come on a lot” since he left the legendary manager left the club.
Nketiah was heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal last summer but he opted to sign a new long-term contract.
The 24-year-old was behind Gabriel Jesus in the pecking order last season but he managed to score nine goals in his 39 appearances across all competitions.
The forward got on the scoresheet for Arsenal on Wednesday as they beat Ligue Un side AS Monaco in the final of the Emirates Cup. The game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes but the Gunners won 5-4 on penalties.
Speaking post-match, Nketiah revealed that he has “spoken” with Wenger in the changing room and the club legend is “really proud” of him.
“I was speaking to him in the changing room after and he’s really proud of me. I’m really grateful for everything he did for me for my career, and it’s great to have such a legend here and see a new statue outside,” Nketiah said (via Arsenal’s official website).
“He just told me to keep going. He thinks my game’s come on a lot since [he departed]. He’s really proud of me. Obviously, he’s seen me develop and watched me from when he first gave me my debut up until now.
“Like I said I’m really grateful and it’s really good to see him around.”
Nketiah is likely to start against Man City in the Community Shield this weekend as Jesus is set to be “out for a few weeks”.
Arteta revealed on Wednesday that Jesus has had “a little procedure” and will miss the start of the new season.
“Unfortunately, he had a little procedure this morning,” Arteta revealed after Arsenal’s win over Monaco.
“He had some discomfort in his knee that has been causing some issues and they had to go in and resolve it. It is not something major but he looks to be out for a few weeks I think.
“It is a big blow because we had him back to his best, especially the way he played against Barcelona, and he was in good condition and we lost him.
“But he has been feeling some discomfort in the last few weeks and we had to look at it, we had to make a decision and the best one is to protect the player and get him back as quick as possible so we decided to do it.
“It is something related to the previous injury that he had and the surgery. He had some irritation in the knee and we had to get it resolved.”