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Martin Ødegaard praises Eddie Nketiah for filling Gabriel Jesus role

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By Martin Graham | 3rd Jan 2023

Arsenal captain Martin Ødegaard has praised Eddie Nketiah for filling the spot left by Jesus after his injury at the just concluded World Cup.

Nketiah has played second fiddle since Jesus joined the club in the summer but has delivered when called upon. However, his influence is not yet seen as being on the same level as the former Manchester City man, who will be out until February at the earliest.

The Gunners are reportedly hunting for a direct replacement for Jesus because of their worry about Nketiah’s ability to take up the mantle of responsibility. It is unknown if the reports are factual, but Nketiah has been unfazed by them, making sure to stake a big claim for his place in the squad since the opportunity landed in his laps.

Two goals from two since the resumption of the Premier League, including his 11th straight goal at the Emirates in his 11th start in the past seasons has seen his stocks rise among the fanbase and Mikel Arteta praise him for his efforts.

Team captain Ødegaard has also spoken out about Nketiah’s role in the team and has praised the club’s second choice for filling in perfectly in the absence of Jesus.

“Everyone has to step up,” said Odegaard. “We are missing a great player but you see the quality that Eddie has.

“Two goals now and everything that he brings in the game also. You see the front players we have, we are always going to create chances and be dangerous, and it is just about getting the players in the right positions and good things will happen.

“When a player like that (Jesus) is injured you will always miss him. He has great quality and great personality. He still gives us a lot outside the pitch. The energy he gives and everything at the training ground he still gives a lot.

“But all the players need to step up when you miss someone like that and we have done excellent. Credit to Eddie to come in like that and perform like this. It is amazing to see.”

Ødegaard surely mean well with his comments but it could sit wrongly with the England youth international. Nketiah has previously stated that he is not Jesus’ replacement after being posed the question.

He fully intends to grab the striker position for himself and Arteta will welcome the healthy competition between him and Jesus, with hopes of having two behemoth ,strikers like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who departed last season.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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