WITH DUE respect to his parent club Arsenal, the pressure of lining up as Leeds United’s first-team centre-forward is likely to be far removed from anything that Eddie Nketiah has experienced in his short career so far.
The Londoner may represent one of the grand old footballing institutions in the Gunners, but his gentle introduction to the senior ranks – where he has appeared briefly in the Europa League and Carabao Cup – is far removed from the expectation involved with helping to propel Leeds back to the Premier League.
It is a pressure that Nketiah, 20 – who instantly endeared himself to Whites fans with a debut goal in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup cruise at Salford City – is ready for.
Nketiah, eyeing more involvement in Lancashire this weekend when Leeds head to Wigan, said: “Obviously I know the history and tradition of the club.
I think I can thrive off it and hopefully I can just continue to work hard and try and help the team as best I can.Eddie Nketiah
“It is a big club, coming from Arsenal, I am used to being at a big club, so there is that bit more expectation and pressure.
“I think I can thrive off it and hopefully I can just continue to work hard and try and help the team as best I can.
“All I can do is take the opportunity I was given. I feel like I did that. I tried to work hard, I know there is a lot more from me to come. I can perform a lot better.”
On boosting his prospects of involvement at the DW Stadium, the striker, not involved in Saturday’s Championship draw with Nottingham Forest, added: “It is nice to get the goal, but it is the manager’s decision.
“All I can do is work hard in training and I am sure my time will come eventually.”
Nketiah certainly arrives in West Yorkshire with a sky-high reputation, with the forward rebuffing major interest from clubs from home and abroad to join Leeds, a decision which he is confident will be vindicated.
“It was flattering to have a lot of interest across Europe,” Nketiah added.
“I feel like the project here and the manager, it was a big push for me in wanting to help the team, playing with that pressure and the style of play.
“They try to go about it the right way.
“They try to play football and it is high intensity, which I think is good for my game.
“The history of the club was a big pull and the fans, it was a good decision in the end.”