How High Can Eddie Fly?


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. 

Ready, Eddie, Go!

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?



32 Responses to How High Can Eddie Fly?

  1. LBG says:

    A sowfff London boy in the mould of Ian and your name sake Rocky!
    Had me hooked from the moment he came on for that last minute header and we cried “Eddieee!”
    Hard for homegrown strikers as you say Rocky, because foreign goalscorers tend to get higher profile. Admire the way he hit the ground running having been overlooked in favour of a slower, less talented Leeds CF, the Arse!
    Quick ish, grafter, whose calmness in the box will grow him into an excellent fox.
    Eddie, just do everything that Jeffers didnt.
    Optimism is the rule,OK

  2. LBG says:

    Cheers, Rocky rules the keyboard, OK.

  3. LBG says:

    .”… the Arse…..”

  4. RockyLives says:

    LBG 😀

    I would say: “Eddie, just do everything that Ian Wright tells you.”

  5. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky

    First and foremost, a 21 year old with the natural proven instinct to find the back of the net should be welcomed. Secondly, him being 21 should be taken into consideration as to how we view him for the future, and I agree I think he could go on to be a mainstay.

    The modern forward line seems to comprise 3 players with 2 goal-scoring wing forward types operating either side of a central number 9.

    The number 9 role has somewhat changed recently from the traditional one that Shearer was. Still chipping in with a decent goal tally is obviously necessary, but with the modern 9, in a front 3, it is as important for them to be the foil and link to the other 2 players.

    If you look at Firmino, he does offer a constant goal threat but his goal tally is not the most prolific. His ability to hold up the ball, operate with his back to goal, and link up play with those around him is excellent, and he is a key component in how Liverpool play despite his more modest goal return.

    I think Eddie could be a more prolific goal-scorer than Firmino, so that is one positive. Eddie also has the attitude and application Arteta looks for, and works hard to press the defence like Firmino does. Where he is behind the Liverpool frontman is in his back to goal work and link play. It is not that he is bad at that, just that this requires refinement to be more constantly effective at the highest level.

    Eddie can achieve this with increased playing time, and the signs look good that Arteta will give him this and also coach him into that more rounded front man.

    I think he will share equally with Laca this season but may start to become more first choice later in the season (as I think Laca may be sold next year with 1 year remaining on his contract).

    My gut tells me that Arteta recognises that Eddie needs improvement in certain areas, but also sees his potential as a future first choice number 9, and time is on his side to become that world class number 9. He probably won’t be at peak till he is 26-27, some 5 years at least away, and he is already pretty bloody good so Eddie is a player we should be nurturing to his full ability.

  6. Pete the Thirst says:

    I love the enthusiasm Rocky.

    I remain to be convinced by Nketiah. I’d love for him to prove me wrong. For me he’s a good option off the bench.

    Chelsea let him go because they rated Abraham higher. Bielsa didn’t fancy him.

    BTW Rashford is another in a long line of over-rated English players.

  7. LBG says:

    “foil and link”
    Score a hatful of tap in goals, to add to Martinelli and Saka’s sublime ones and Smith-Rowe’s screamers, will do me!

  8. RA says:


    I think that GB has the right of it in response to your Post in as much as the person Eddie has to convince is Mikel, and if my own slight reservations about Eddie’s longer term career are shared by Mikel – unlikely tho that might be – is that, as GB points out, any deficiency in certain areas of his game will be noted by the manager and improved.

    My own reservation about Eddie is that he needs to muscle up a bit, because he can get shoved off the ball a bit too easily, altho his determination in front of goal makes him a natural poacher.

    Ian Right Right Wright, and other top goal scorers never allowed themselves to be pinged by a defender when they had the ball, except at the cost of a penalty or a yellow card. Eddie will learn this art too.

    LBG pinched another point I was about to make, in that a fit Martinelli will be the main challenge to Eddie and other hopefuls in our front line.

    It will be really interesting to see how that goes.

  9. RA says:

    I laughed at something else that I read in the papers this morning – Thomas Partey said he was known as “The Octopus” in Ghana, for two reasons, the first of which was that he had the ability to retrieve/stop attacks by pinching balls from attackers, presumably with the suckers on his long flexible legs 😁 but secondly, because he has a tattoo of an octopus — and his sense of humour makes me want to see him in action even more.

  10. RockyLives says:

    I want to see Partey too Redders.

    After all, he cost 45 million squid.

  11. RockyLives says:

    is he called The Octopus because, in every game, he makes an average of ten tackles?

    (Think about it)

  12. RA says:

    Rocket, 😁😁😁

  13. RockyLives says:

    I wonder if Saka will get another run out in the England team tonight?

    I’m not sure which other Gunners will be in action – let’s just hope they all stay healthy.

  14. RC78 says:

    I think Eddie will be like a new Giroud for us. A reliable striker that will be very useful and win us games and work his socks off but he won’t be a Wright, Henry or Auba. Plus he is the natural heir to Laca in our current squad.

  15. RC78 says:

    By the way – the puns and anagrams from fellow bloggers really crack me up – thanks for the laughs

  16. LBG says:

    “a new Giroud”………..capable of running faster backwards than the oil tanker could forwards!😉

  17. Aaron says:

    Question: do you think Biesla does not fancy Eddie or he fancied Bamford, who is 27 years old, and scored 28 goals in 71 appearances in front of him?

    Me, personally, like the kid, works hard, plays the way Mikel wants him to, and throws in an occasional goal now and then. He is just a kid who might just turn into something much better than he is now. He is also AFC’s, cheap, and can be developed for free.

    Oh, and yesterday’s topic was definitely something to think about as Mikel progresses too.

    Mikel needs to do what he needs to do in able to keep his job, with the players he has at his disposal.

    The stats say he is on course so far, that is not debatable, the eye test says I see it in flashes, the attacking part.

    May long live Mikel’s and AFC’s continued upward trend!

  18. LB says:

    The new Giroud, well that takes some imagining RC!

    Moving on…..

    I get the impression that Lacazette would push his grand mother aside to be able to score a goal, I do not get the impression that Eddie would?

    There is no doubt that Nketiah is getting better but he probably only has till the beginning of the new year to take another step up because then Martinelli will return and the alternation with Laca will probably change to that of the Brazilian and the Frenchman.

    There should still be chances in the cups but the opportunity he is getting right now with all the game time etc should really be taken advantage of. The golden opportunity that fell to him early on in our last game increase the doubt.

    All guess work of course but that is how I see it.

  19. RockyLives says:

    “Lacazette would push his grand mother aside to be able to score a goal” 😀

    I’m much more optimistic about Eddie’s chances than you LB. I see a real good striker who’s learning his trade but is already at EPL level.

  20. RockyLives says:

    A start for AMN in the England game tonight.

    Hope Ainsley has a good one.

    If England get a penalty they should definitely give it to Captain Cool to take.

  21. LBG says:

    Great things being predicted for Miguel Azeez in U21. A true creator.

  22. Sue says:

    Love the Eddie the eagle/Eddie the beagle, Rocky 😄👌

    Well, Ainsley wasn’t on for long… nice one, slab-head – he was awful, red and rightly so! I could carry on about how crap Pickford was too, but i won’t! I’m just happy it’s all over, well until next month anyway 😫 These 2 weeks have dragged!! Roll on 17.30 on Saturday… time for some decent football!!

  23. LB says:

    Didn’t see the England game, did AMN play in his new found spot on the left? (Cup final position)

  24. sheila says:

    I agree with everything you said Sue about the game. I thought AMN did OK while he was on, at least he didn’t keep losing the ball or passing to an opponent like some of the others. NO SAKA NO GREALISH, boring game we deserved to lose , could have lost by more . Hard game to watch, glad it’s all over & back to REAL football. At least our boys come back without injuries that is the best you can say about the evening

  25. RC78 says:

    1. Pickford and Maguire are super overrated.
    2. The coach is not bad but I think he is still learning on the job. Deschamps in France is using different systems during these games and it is not perfect but you can see there is a game plan for every game.
    3. I think that Grealish should be starting just like Rashford, Kane, Sterling, Henderson, Trent-Arnold.

    Henderson – Trent-Arnold, Walker, Gomez, Chilwell – Henderson, Rice, Grealish – Sterling, Kane, Rashford

    Then your bench is very good

  26. Sue says:

    LB.. He was LWB…

    Very true, Sheila.. no injuries!! I wonder how many goals will be scored this weekend!!

  27. RockyLives says:

    Grealish should be the first name on the team sheet.

  28. RockyLives says:

    I fear Mr Waistcoat is another in that long line of “safe” English managers who leave their most gifted and creative players out in the cold.

    I hope Grealish doesn’t become another Tony Currie, Stan Bowles, Alan Hudson etc

  29. LBG says:

    Currie, Bowles and Hudson……..what talent, Rocky!
    Stanley was a real character as well off the field. Always entertaining in interview, no political correctness. Memories.

  30. LBG says:

    Just did a little investigation into Alan Hudson post football. Very sad!

  31. RockyLives says:

    Tony Currie had 17 caps, Gerry Francis 12, Alan Hudson 2, Stan Bowles 5.

    What a waste of talent.

  32. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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