Eddie Nketiah insists both himself and his team-mates are ready to be relied upon by Mikel Arteta after Gabriel Jesus was ruled out for ‘a few weeks’ with a knee issue.
“I don’t think I’m here to fill in for anyone. I’m here to play and contribute to the team. Obviously, I believe in my abilities and I know I can contribute,” he said after Arsenal drew 1-1 with Monaco.
“The manager has got a tough decision and whenever he calls me, he knows I can deliver and I can help the team, so it’s just about us all collectively playing our part to achieve our goals.
“So not just myself, there’s many players that can obviously play in that position. We’re all ready, we are all good players, we’re all able to contribute at different points in the season, everyone’s going to have different roles.
“We want him (Jesus) back as soon as possible. We need him, he is a big player for us. So whatever the manager does, we are all here to contribute and push to be out there to help the team, so whatever role I need to play I’m ready to contribute.”
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Arteta has said Jesus’ situation is not major and that the striker has already undergone a “little procedure” to help resolve irritation he felt on the knee he injured at last year’s World Cup.
That initial knee injury kept Jesus out for four months, and Nketiah was initially called upon to deputise. The 24-year-old scored six goals in all competitions (four in the league) before picking up a knock himself, which allowed Leandro Trossard to feature in a central role.
The striker, who captained Arsenal against Monaco and scored their equaliser, had a similar experience in 2021-22. That year he earned a starting berth towards the end of the season, replacing Alexandre Lacazette, scoring five goals in Arsenal’s last eight games.
“I just really enjoyed it and was able to improve and test myself. I played some really big games and I was able to help and contribute,” he said on last season’s experience.
“That’s what it is about. Playing at the highest level, competing for trophies and that’s what I want to do. I pride myself on always being ready and whatever role the manager needs me to fill. I will always make sure I do my best and to the best of my ability so I can help the team – that’s what it’s all about.”
Kieran Tierney is the only fit senior player yet to start in pre-season while Nketiah was the only Arsenal player to feature against Monaco that was managed by Arsene Wenger, who was present as a guest of honour after his statue unveiling last week.
On the Frenchman being in attendance, Nketiah added: “I made my debut under him. So it was so nice to really speak to him and he is obviously really proud of how far I’ve come from since then.
“It’s amazing and it’s always good to pick his brain, he is a genius and we’re really happy that he’s been able to come, been able to catch up with him.”
Gabriel Jesus is injured again – but there is no reason for Arsenal to panic
(Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)