On-loan Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah has largely impressed United fans since his arrival, with his impact having a positive effect on the side already – just ten games into the season.
I think that’s the keyword though, impact. Marcelo Bielsa has mainly used the 20-year-old from the bench this season – to varying degrees of success.
The youngster is still very much learning the game and developing as a player. Though Nketiah has played eight times for his parent club, mainly in European and domestic cup competitions, and got closer to Arsenal’s first-team squad more regularly last season, he still has a long way to go.
The potential is there though, and the youngster is learning at a good level, playing under a very experienced manager in a pressurised situation, with high expectations at Elland Road.
Over recent weeks, many United fans have called for Nketiah to start games in place of regular striker and the sometimes maligned Patrick Bamford. The latter’s strong display in the midweek victory over West Brom has taken the heat off him a little bit, but it appears the situation suits all as it stands anyway.
Nketiah has played less than 20 first-team matches all told and started only a handful of those. To expect the youngster to go straight into a top Championship side and deliver the goods regularly is perhaps a little too much to expect at this point.
Bielsa is managing the player cleverly, it’s a long, relentless season in the second tier and I’m sure Nketiah’s chance will come.
At the moment though, he’s perhaps best making his impact later in games, once the aforementioned and more developed – certainly more experienced – Bamford has put a shift in and challenged opponents both physically and technically.
Though Leeds are a little light in terms of attacking options – and the on-loan striker may get plenty of opportunities because of this – Bielsa continues to use the player wisely, acknowledging the player’s needs and best attributes.
Nketiah is just the kind of forward to punish tired legs. Quick, nippy and alert – it’s no wonder that Bielsa has brought him to the club and currently uses him in a way that best suits his team and hurts the opposition.