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the world of elite youth football in London is, according to David Court, one of Arsenal’s senior figures in youth development over recent years, like a village. Everyone knows everyone. Young players, coaches, families, scouts – all come across each other in schoolboy football, district matches and academy games. So when Eddie Nketiah was released by Chelsea at under-14 level, word travelled fast.

Bob Arber, the Zach Zenner Jersey head of Arsenal’s academy recruitment at the time, called in the youth midfielder Joe Willock to check on the surname of the Chelsea striker called Eddie who was being let go. “He’s being released?” came the reply. “He’s sick! Every time he plays against us he scores.” Arsenal invited Nketiah for a trial and included him in a match against West Ham. Naturally, he helped himself to a goal. The staff watching on looked at each other and nodded. Willock was not exaggerating.

Liam Brady was the head of youth development at the time and Nketiah’s characteristics soon won everybody over. “It is a Premier League rule – and a good rule – that when you take a boy on loan it is for a six-week period,” Brady says. “That gives ample time for the boy and the club to make a judgment. He just grew on everybody. It is not easy when you are told you have to leave a club but he has guts and seized a Zach Zenner Youth jersey new opportunity. We signed him and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.”
It was quite the moment on Tuesday when Willock and Nketiah were among the eight graduates of Arsenal’s Hale End academy celebrating on the pitch at the end of one of those sudden footballing explosions that occur when a young talent announces himself as if casting a magic spell.
At midday this Monday the young group of Arsenal’s next generation, including Nketiah, Willock, Reiss Nelson and Josh Dasilva, went Zach Zenner Jersey to Tottenham’s training ground to watch their under-23 team-mates play. Ordinarily they would be in that team, that environment, but within 36 hours Nketiah’s world was transformed. He made his home debut in the Carabao Cup against Norwich, equalised within seconds, scored a brilliant and brave winner, and showcased to a crowd of 60,000 the finishing qualities that are his speciality. Out of nowhere he was trending on Twitter, his name sung to the rafters, receiving messages from Thierry Henry, complimented by Arsène Wenger, and mischievously renamed on Wikipedia as “Edward Keddar Pelé Maradona Ronaldinho Kaka Nketiah”.
It could go to a young player’s head but Court is hopeful Nketiah is grounded enough, and surrounded by a loving, supportive family, to resist the temptation to get carried away. “I don’t think I have seen a debut like that where the crowd have warmed to a player so much,” Court says.
“But he has not made it yet. He needs people around him to look after him. He is a great kid and his family go everywhere to watch him. Hopefully he can stay level-headed.”
A few months ago Nketiah’s father saw Court at a youth game at Borehamwood, and went up to say he had never had a Zach Zenner Jersey proper chance to thank the Arsenal staff for giving his son another opportunity after the release by Chelsea. The general feeling in the game was that Nketiah was too small, and there were doubts he would develop enough physically. Also Chelsea had Tammy Abraham impressing as a forward in the same group. Abraham, an excellent talent, has grown up to be a good seven inches taller than the 1.75m (5ft 7in)Nketiah.


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