Arsenal boss Wenger impressed by young striker Nketiah’s heroics against Norwich
- Credit: PA
Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Eddie Nketiah after the 18-year-old came off the bench to hit a brace on his home debut for Arsenal – and break Norwich City hearts.
The England Under-19 international proved the difference as the Gunners came from behind to beat Norwich 2-1 after extra-time and take their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Josh Murphy had given the Canaries a surprise lead at the Emirates Stadium but Daniel Farke’s side missed a number of chances to seal a famous win before Arsenal hit back.
Wenger, who made 11 changes from the side that won 5-2 at Everton on Sunday, turned to Nketiah with five minutes to go and the former Chelsea youngster responded with an equaliser just 15 seconds after entering the fray.
That sent the tie to extra-time where Nketiah, who had played one minute of senior football before Tuesday’s game, headed home Mohamed Elneny’s corner to send Arsenal through to the last eight.
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“I brought him on because we needed to score goals and he can score goals. In the end we had eight strikers on the pitch,” Wenger said.
“I knew he had quality, but when the team need you and you deliver, that’s another quality you don’t know about until you go on to the pitch.
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“Hopefully he’ll have a long career at Arsenal. We’re proud to give chances to young players, it’s part of our DNA, and we want to continue to do that.
“I don’t know why exactly Chelsea let him go or if he decided to leave, but young players more and more nowadays travel from one club to another. We’re happy to have him.
“I can’t remember a young player having such an impact in a game like that. Until he came on we lacked ideas and creativity.”
Nketiah is hoping to achieve many more of his footballing dreams after his big night.
“I’m delighted to get two goals and win the match for the team,” the youngster said. “I’m very thankful to the boss for giving me that opportunity to come on and show what I can do.
“I’m really happy that the fans welcomed me into the team like that and to hear your name at such a young age is a dream come true and hopefully it is the first of many.
“I came on there with full focus to help the team win and I believe in myself and I believe that I can always get goals so I just tried to get in goalscoring opportunities and thankfully they went in.”