Mikel Arteta names player who "trains harder than everybody else" at Arsenal
Mikel Arteta handed Eddie Nketiah a rare start in Arsenal's Carabao Cup win over AFC Wimbledon and hailed the striker as the club's best trainer
Mikel Arteta has hailed Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal's hardest trainer, insisting he is the model professional.
The young striker has had to bide his time at the Emirates with several players ahead of him in the pecking order.
He started in the Gunners' 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday night, scoring his side's third ten minutes before the end.
Emile Smith Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette also got on the scoresheet.
Nketiah has previously headed out on loan and was linked with a summer exit, but ended up staying put.
Arteta has praised the way the 22-year-old has continued to plug away, saying: "Eddie is a lesson every day on how a professional should be in his job in the circumstances.
"There has been a lot of speculation around him.
"He puts his head down, he trains harder than everybody else. He supports every teammate no matter the circumstances.
"So, I am so happy for him that could perform at that level and physically how he managed that game because he trains like the best every day. So I am delighted for him."
Nketiah only made four Premier League starts last term, often appearing from the bench.
He's scored 14 times for the Gunners during his limited opportunities.
Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain first choice under Arteta whilst the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun are both beginning to get their chances.
The Arsenal boss admitted last year that any blame for Nketiah's lack of involvement laid firmly at his doorstep.
"This is one of the hazards to leave someone like Eddie out of the squad, but at the moment everybody has been fit and we have so many options up front," he said.
"But it hurts as well because of how Eddie behaves and trains every day and because he's a player from our academy, but he will have his chance.
"He needs to be patient and he's showing no signs of lacking attitude or anything like that, it's the complete opposite.
"He's a joy to work with and he deserves minutes and if he doesn't get it, it's just my fault."
Nketiah's contract does expire at the end of this season which could allow him to seek pastures new.
The forward was close to a switch across London to join Crystal Palace in the summer before the move broke down.