Arteta: Southampton defeat has left players feeling ‘really down’
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Mikel Arteta has insisted Eddie Nketiah is right to feel “upset” after the Arsenal striker opened up on his frustrations over a lack of game time. The 22-year-old, whose current Gunners deal expires at the end of this season, revealed he is seeking regular first-team football as his future in North London continues to be shrouded in uncertainty.
Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Stamford Bridge take on Chelsea on Wednesday night, Arteta addressed Nketiah’s comments, admitting the striker’s desire to feature more for the Gunners is something he “wants” from his players. The Spaniard stated: “He is right to be upset.
“This is what we want from the players that haven’t had the minutes. Especially Eddie, because if there is a player in the dressing room that deserves more chances, that is for sure Eddie.”
Arteta additionally dismissed suggestions that he may feel pressurised into selecting Nketiah in order to convince him to stay. Arteta added: “It’s not about pressure to play him, it’s about trying to put a team there that can win football matches, and you believe that has the best possible chance to win it. Then just pick the players, regardless of the situation.
“We could have gone for a completely different approach and played him even less or don’t give him any opportunities, or don’t put him in the squad. We have to treat every player with the duty that we have.
“They are our players, we want to get the best out of them. With Eddie I said many times as well how much I rate him. That the fact that we have big plans for him at this club for the future, and this is where we are today and we have to accept that reality.”
The Spaniard’s response comes following comments Nketiah made on The Beautiful Game Podcast. The England Under-21 international, who has so far resisted Arsenal’s contract offers, admitted there have been discussions over a new deal, however remained coy on his future as he outlined his intentions to play more often.
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Nketiah declared: “I’m under contract until the end of the season but my deal runs out. There have been offers of a new contract but at the moment my aim is to play football and play regularly. That’s my ambition and that’s what I hope to do but at the same time I’m at Arsenal, I love Arsenal.
“I’m just trying to focus on the season until May and make sure I finish that in a good way and then sit down and see what I think is the best opportunity to allow me to take those steps and develop. For me to take the next step and get to where I think I can get to, I obviously need to consider getting more minutes.”
Nketiah has been limited to a squad role this season with Saturday’s defeat to Southampton marking his only start in 14 Premier League appearances this campaign. As it stands, the forward remains set for an Emirates exit this summer, with Crystal Palace in particular heavily linked.
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