In comments reported by The Telegraph, Unai Emery has suggested that he has no concerns about Eddie Nketiah’s situation at Leeds United, and predicted that the Arsenal loanee is going to play a lot more in the future.
Nketiah is still awaiting his first league start for the Whites. He has scored four goals in all competitions for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, including two in the Championship.
It has frustrated plenty of Arsenal and Leeds fans that he has not played more. And those supporters would have been hoping that his hat-trick for England’s under-21s during the international break would tempt Bielsa into making a change.
However, Nketiah came off the bench again at the weekend, getting 45 minutes in Leeds’s 1-0 win against Birmingham.
Nevertheless, Emery insisted that he is not worried about the 20-year-old’s game-time at Elland Road, and backed Bielsa’s use of the youngster so far.
“Now is not the moment,” he said, as reported by The Telegraph. “First I respect his coach and his decision. And I think he is going to play more, because he is going to deserve it.”
Nketiah’s future has become a real talking point recently. The Sun reported earlier this month that Bristol City are hoping that Arsenal will recall the youngster and loan him out to the Robins in January.
Emery’s comments appear to give Bielsa some breathing space. But perhaps, his prediction that he will play more could also be perceived as a gentle warning. Provided that he plays more in the future, there will be no issue to address.
Nketiah did not take his chance at the weekend. But Patrick Bamford’s run without a goal may leave Bielsa with a decision to make.
Leeds face Preston North End on Tuesday. Deepdale provided the backdrop to Bamford’s greatest triumph last season. Perhaps the time has come for Nketiah to prove what he can do on the same stage.