Former England striker Darren Bent has warned Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa that if the current treatment of striker Eddie Nketiah continues Arsenal will likely recall the 20-year-old in January.
Nketiah is yet to start in the Championship for the Whites and has instead been restricted to just substitute appearances and two starts in the Carabao Cup.
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Nketiah has also found the net for Leeds U23s and the England U21s, who he scored a hat-trick for in the international break.
It is understood there is a January recall clause in the 20-year-old’s contract and that representatives from Arsenal and Leeds will meet to discuss Nketiah’s development in November.
Speaking to Football Insider, Bent criticised Bielsa’s treatment of the forward and suggested that the lack of opportunities offered to him may mean the Whites lose the striker in January.
He said: “Yeah, he’s not doing Eddie any favours or Leeds any favours because I’m telling you if this continues in January, Arsenal will take him out of there and play him somewhere else.
“You can’t have a kid like that raring to go, we’ve just seen score a hat-trick for England’s U21s, playing at a really good level, getting 15 minutes there or getting 30 minutes there, it’s not going to work.
“Arsenal will say it’s not good enough as we’ve sent him out to get minutes and he’s not getting minutes, so what is going to happen, Arsenal will take him out of Leeds and they will be left with one striker, then what do they do?”
With the game scoreless, Nketiah replaced Bamford at half-time in Leeds’ clash with Birmingham City on Saturday.
The Whites went on to win the game 1-0 but Nketiah did not score–managing to hit the target just once and taking two shots in total.
The Nketiah situation at Leeds is an interesting one. The 20-year-old looks lively but the Whites seemed to lose control of the game slightly when he replaced Bamford on Saturday.
You feel Bent could be right, if the Arsenal loanee continues to be restricted to substitute appearances the Premier League side will surely consider recalling him in January.
They sent the forward on-loan to Leeds to get regular first-team football and may feel it would be better for him to develop elsewhere.
However, it is important not to forget how beneficial it could be for Nketiah’s development to spend a year under a highly-regarded coach like Bielsa.