England U21 manager Aidy Boothroyd has heaped praise onto Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah, comparing him to two of England’s finest, report the Standard.
Nketiah has been one of several Arsenal academy graduates who has benefited from Mikel Arteta’s willingness to give the youngsters a chance. He’s featured in all four of the Gunners’ Premier League fixtures so far this term, scoring one goal to date.
His record for England’s U21 side is quite remarkable, having netted 13 times in 11 appearances. That makes him the joint all-time top scorer for the team. You have to think a senior debut is not far away.
One man who certainly believes that Nketiah has what it takes to be a success story for England is U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd, who has seen first-hand the striker tear through defences for his country.
Boothroyd is quoted by the Standard saying:
“If you look at Alan and the career he had and Harry Kane and the career he is having – where Eddie is concerned, if he can get to the point where, like those two players, he’s in on goal and you just know he is going to score, that’s when you make the step from young player to senior player.”
“He’s not quite there yet but he’s not far off. The fact he’s in the company of those players that I’ve mentioned shows how much I think of him and how much we think of him in the system.”
Comparisons to Alan Shearer and Harry Kane are a lot of pressure for a young player to deal with, but the recognition ought to give Nketiah a real confidence boost.
If he keeps riding the upwards gradient in the manner he has in 2020, Boothroyd may well be right – and that will only be to the benefit of Gareth Southgate and the England national team.