Congratulations to Eddie Nketiah for becoming the top scorer of all time at England Under 21 level.
It raises a question: how good can Eddie be? Will he be Eddie the Eagle? Or Eddie the Beagle?
Nothing against beagles, of course, but we don’t associate them with soaring to great heights, do we?
I happen to think he can be very, very good so I have been surprised by the lukewarm reaction to him from fans generally, including from commenters here on Arsenal Arsenal.
A couple of things to mention about his achievement last night in the U21 game against Turkey: first, he scored not long after missing a penalty (he hit the post), which shows character; second, he was the team captain on the night, which tells you what the England set-up think of him.
That late goal gave him 14 goals at U21 level, eclipsing the previous record holders, Geordie legend Alan Shearer and the unlucky former Arsenal player Francis Jeffers, whose career was blighted by injury.
So, what about the perception of him among Arsenal supporters? Before you all jump on me I’m not suggesting that we haven’t appreciated his efforts or aren’t rooting for him to do well.
It’s just that I don’t get any sense of excitement around him, in the way Manchester United fans were hugely optimistic when Marcus Rashford emerged, or the way Chelsea supporters got all tingly about Tammy Abraham and now Mason Mount.
I reckon that many of us see Eddie as a good young home-grown striker in a long line of good young home-grown strikers who never make it at Arsenal.
Jay Simpson, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Chuka Aneke, Chuba Akpom, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Jeremie Aliadiere, Arturo Lupoli, Jerome Thomas, Jay Bothroyd, Tyreece John-Jules (still with us but on loan at Doncaster) and others too obscure to mention.
Will Eddie’s name be added to that long roll of not-quite-honour?
Time will tell, of course, but I fear we supporters are underestimating Eddie. He looks to me to have some of the qualities of Ian Wright in the way he makes his runs into the box and the composure he has when tucking the ball away.
This season he’s had two goals in six appearances, some of which were substitute appearances. It’s not a spectacular return but not bad in terms of goals per minute.
More importantly, Mikel Arteta and his team seem to think highly of him and are starting to trust him with important game time, including starting matches.
The odds are stacked against any young striker making the grade at a top club, but I have more hope for Eddie than I had for any of the players on that long list, and I suspect the club has the same hopes.
This could turn into a breakout season for the young South Londoner who was originally snapped up by Chelsea’s youth scouts before we poached him and brought him into the light.
And what an asset he would be if he can continue developing: a player who will have cost only the sums invested in bringing him through the youth system but who might end up being worth many tens of millions. Someone who will either score many goals for us or bring in a very large transfer fee if he moves.
Am I being too optimistic?