Eddie Nketiah: the young Arsenal ‘goalscoring machine’ who Chelsea let go | Amy Lawrence

Rejected by Chelsea for being too small, the hero of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup victory over Norwich has battled back and is beginning to catch Arsène Wenger’s eye

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 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.

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