Danny Higginbotham has backed Eddie Nketiah to be a success at Leeds United this season, but did warn the Arsenal loanee that he might have to bide his time to break into the starting line-up given Patrick Bamford’s start.
Leeds had Nketiah to thank for last night’s 1-0 win over Brentford at Elland Road, with the 20-year-old stepping off the bench to score an 81st minute winner against the Bees.
However, Bamford has three goals in four starts in the Championship, and led the line well even after Nketiah was introduced last night.
Before last night’s heroics, Football League Word’s Chief Editor, Sam Rourke, caught up with Higginbotham to discuss Nketiah and whether he could break into Marcelo Bielsa’s starting line-up.
“He’s got a chance, but I think you’ve got to look at Bamford,” the pundit told us.
“He seems to have thrived off competition, he got two goals at Wigan at the weekend and scored against Bristol City as well.
“It’s taking him to another level (the competition).”
Nketiah is highly thought of at Arsenal, and Leeds worked hard to land him on transfer deadline-day.
Higginbotham was quick to highlight some of the traits the young forward will add to Bielsa’s side.
He continued: “In terms of Nketiah, he looked like he was on his way to Bristol City and then Leeds went down with a PowerPoint presentation, saying ‘it might be beneficial for him to come to Leeds’.
“I think the one thing he gives you is great pace, he’s got good movement, he’s in the right place at the right time, scoring against Salford in the League Cup.
“He’s a great addition for a team that’s got a relatively small squad.”
Last night, in wake of Nketiah’s winner against Brentford, Bielsa hinted that he is considering using the Arsenal loanee alongside Bamford in attack.
That was in a two against Brentford, but Higginbotham pointed to the Argentine’s ability to get players playing in different positions.
“Bielsa doesn’t change his team too much, but what he does try and get from his players is flexibility and potential to be able to play in different positions,” Higginbotham stated.
“Time will tell, but I think he (Nketiah) will prove to be a very good signing. Whether he breaks into the team in the near future, I don’t know.
“If Bamford keeps going the way that he is doing, it’s going to be difficult, but in the mean time, he’ll be hoping he can have an impact from the bench.”
*FLW caught up with Higginbotham on Tuesday evening, 24 hours before Leeds’ 1-0 win over Brentford.