Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has shared what former manager Arsene Wenger told him after the Emirates Cup victory over AS Monaco last night.
The Frenchman was back at Emirates Stadium for the unveiling of his statue and was also on seat to watch the game between his former sides.
Nketiah grabbed the equaliser in the 1-1 draw before he was taken off for Marquinhos in the 83rd minute.
Wenger handed the Arsenal academy graduate his debut back in September 2017 and they both did catch up after the game.
“I was speaking to him in the changing room after and he’s really proud of me,” Nketiah told the club’s media team after the match.
“I’m really grateful for everything he did for me for my career, and it’s great to have such a legend here and see a new statue outside.
“He just told me to keep going. He thinks my game has come on a lot since [he departed]. He’s really proud of me. Obviously, he’s seen me develop and watched me from when he first gave me my debut up until now.
“Like I said I’m really grateful and it’s really good to see him around.”
Nketiah was close to leaving Arsenal permanently after struggling with game time under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta.
He spent the first half of 2019-20 on loan in the Championship with Leeds United before getting recalled for the second half.
Nketiah is yet to force his way into the starting XI, playing second fiddle to Gabriel Jesus last term.
However, the 24-year-old has a chance to establish himself as a starter and key player this season after the Brazilian recently sustained an injury.
Jesus is out of action for the next few weeks after undergoing a procedure yesterday, and Nketiah will start the campaign as the first-choice striker.
He will need to grab the chance with both hands and prove that he has what it takes to lead the line for Arsenal.
He bagged just four league goals last term in 30 appearances, and while just nine of those games were starts, he needs to do better this term.
Arsenal face Manchester City on Sunday in the Community Shield before taking on Nottingham Forest in their first Premier League game of the new campaign six days later.
Nketiah could be starting both games, and he has to impress as Arteta has other options he can call upon.