The Gunners great believes the inconsistent form of a France international has left the door open for an England U21 star to see regular game time
Eddie Nketiah needs to “get angry” and wrestle a regular starting berth at Arsenal away from Alexandre Lacazette, says Ian Wright.
Mikel Arteta has continued to favour the France international forward in his No.9 position this season.
Lacazette rewarded that show of faith with three goals through as many appearances at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, but has gone six games without finding the target since then.
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His inconsistent form is mirroring that of the Gunners, with Arteta still searching for a formula that allows potential to become something more tangible at Emirates Stadium.
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Wright believes that tinkering with his attacking unit could aid that cause, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having also looked a little out of sorts this term.
Nketiah, who has continued to star as a record-setting marksman for England’s U21 side, is seemingly next in the striking pecking order.
The 21-year-old has been urged to start forcing his way into his manager’s thoughts, with a door to regular game time being left open as Lacazette struggles to find a spark.
An Arsenal icon told his Wrighty’s House Podcast: “Reiss Nelson… what’s going to happen with Reiss Nelson? You have to be worried about Reiss and, to a certain extent, Eddie as well.
“We talked about Laca and people are talking about Laca’s got to be taken out. Maybe for just for himself, just to have a rest.
“Eddie now should be looking at what Laca does, why Laca’s in the team, why Laca’s being picked over him even though he’s not scoring. And he’s got to start learning about the progression of himself.
“Because by now, with the goals that we know he’s capable of scoring because he can get in the box and he can finish, he should be adding those other things to his game to be putting a bit more pressure on Laca, with all due respect to Laca.”
Wright, who hit 185 goals for Arsenal during his time in north London, added on academy graduate Nketiah: “He should have forced himself by now, especially with Laca.
“If he had gone on loan at the start of the season and Laca’s in the form he’s in, people would probably be saying, ‘What did you sent Eddie out on loan for? He should be there!’
“The fact is, if I had to speak to Eddie, I’d be saying, ‘Listen, I don’t know if you’ve recognised it but your opportunity is right now. As a No.9, if you want to play that role, it’s now’.
“Because you’ve got a No.9 at the moment who has low confidence, he brings so much to the team, but at the same time, if the manager has somebody that is a goal threat and doing that pretty well, he’d probably play you.
“He needs to get angry.”
Nketiah has taken in 14 appearances this season, hitting three goals, but only one of those outings has been from the start in a Premier League fixture.