Daily Express


Confident Nketiah’s raring to build on a strong start and land a knockout blow

- By Matthew Dunn

EDDIE NKETIAH says Arsenal are “relishing” Monday’s Champions League last-16 draw, with no fears about who they are pitted against.

The Gunners were guaranteed a knockout-round place as a group winner, and one of the top seeds, before what turned out to be a somewhat tepid 1-1 draw at PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night.

At least it gave England striker Nketiah the chance to score his first Champions League goal, and the 24-year-old can now look forward to adding to his tally during the business end of the competitio­n.

He said: “We would have liked the three points because we wanted to finish the group in style.

“It was my first start in this competitio­n and it is nice to get a goal.

“Every kid dreams of scoring in the Champions League.

“It was a nice finish and it was good to get some minutes in the tank. We have taken to this competitio­n really well.We have had a good start and the most important thing is we qualified top and are through.

“Now we are relishing the next round of games.

“Playing in this competitio­n you are always going to get tough draws. “Every team in this competitio­n is good and earned the right to play here.

“But there is no point being in a competitio­n if you don’t dream to win. “We have the quality to do so and we are pushing every day to win every tournament that we enter and play in.

“That’s our aim and that’s the aim of Arsenal Football Club.

“That’s what the fans want and we are working every day to try and achieve that dream.”

In the meantime there is the small matter of a packed Premier League fixture list, with Arsenal facing four games in 15 days, starting with the visit of Brighton on Sunday.

Nketiah said: “It’s tough but it is exciting.

“There are going to be a lot of games, hopefully a lot of minutes to go around. You have just got to be ready.

“It was good to get some minutes and sharpness against PSV.

“A goal is always good and I am looking forward to the next round of games.” Nketiah’s struggle for game-time is a result of the number of players vying for the role of central striker.

That includes Kai Havertz, left, although the manager who first tried him in that position when they worked together at Bayer Leverkusen believes the Germany forward is at his best when he plays as an attacking midfield player.

Peter Bosz, who is now in charge at PSV, made the observatio­n after their midweek reunion in Holland. He said: “You didn’t need to be a scientist in football to see that this was a big, big talent, absolutely.

“He’s an outstandin­g, outstandin­g player. “I put him in a system, more or less, with one holding midfielder and two offensive midfield players and he played outstandin­g there.

“In the end I put him as a No.9. Rudi Voeller [Leverkusen’s sporting director] didn’t agree with me but I think he can play there also – that’s what he did at Chelsea.

“Now he’s playing more again as an offensive midfield player.

“He can play in those positions but he can also play from the side.

“That means he’s a really intelligen­t player.

“Technicall­y he’s almost perfect for such a tall player. He can score goals, he is more than only for one position.

“But I believe where he is playing now is his best position.”

 ?? ?? A QUIET BELIEF Nketiah celebrates against PSV and fears no one in Monday’s last-16 draw
A QUIET BELIEF Nketiah celebrates against PSV and fears no one in Monday’s last-16 draw
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