Arteta concerned about Arsenal striker Nketiah

Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah after the Premier League match at Villa Park

Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah after the Premier League match at Villa Park - Credit: PA

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted his concern for the development of young striker Eddie Nketiah this season.

The 21-year-old has not featured for the Gunners since a last-minute substitute appearance in a goalless draw with Manchester United on January 30.

And Arteta feels the lack of first-team exposure could damage Nketiah, who has started just twice in the Premier League and played a total of 319 minutes, scoring once, this season.

Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have gone out on loan to Newcastle and West Brom, but Nketiah remained at the club and has seen fellow youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe flourish.

Nketiah, the record goalscorer for England under-21s, was not even named on the bench for the 3-1 win at Leicester, but Arteta said: "This is one of the hazards to leave someone like Eddie out of the squad, but at the moment everybody has been fit and we have so many options up front.

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"But it hurts as well because of how Eddie behaves and trains every day and because he's a player from our academy, but he will have his chance.

"He needs to be patient and he's showing no signs of lacking attitude or anything like that, it's the complete opposite.

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"He's a joy to work with and he deserves minutes and if he doesn't get it, it's just my fault."

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been deployed as a central striker of late, with Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli also ahead of Nketiah in the pecking order.

Arteta feels there is a risk Nketiah's promising development could stutter due to his restricted chances at present.

Asked if a lack of minutes could stunt his development, Arteta replied: "Yes there is because he needs to play and we've been wanting to use him a little bit more on some occasions and we didn't.

"To be fair, when he's played, he's played well, but at his age and for what he's done the last two or three seasons, he needs more minutes.

"It's something we have to talk about openly and make the right decision."

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