Eddie Nketiah: Arsenal’s Next Young Marketable Athlete?
Arsenal’s 18-year-old striker Eddie Nketiah hit headlines after scoring an unexpected brace on his home debut, leaving many asking whether the young Gunner could become one of the club’s most marketable young athletes.
Coming off the bench against Norwich in the 85th minute, Nketiah equalised with his first touch, taking the game into extra time where he scored again with a bullet header. Sending Arsenal through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, fans sang his praises as he rescued the Gunners from what looked to be a drawn-out defeat to the Canaries.
Many of the biggest names in sport were quick to comment on the youngster’s success, with former Arsenal player Thierry Henry, tweeting: “What a night for Eddie Nketiah. So happy for him and not surprised at all.”
Becoming the first Arsenal player to score for the club who was not born when Wenger began his reign, the Arsenal boss spoke of his excitement for the talented young striker. He said: “He has top quality and is a player who was with me in pre-season and I knew what he would do. I like the quality of Eddie’s movement, the quality of the areas he gets into, his strength, his determination to finish things off and his work rate as well.”
Young athletes have become increasingly influential in recent years, with the platform and unparalleled audience of football providing the perfect platform for footballers to launch themselves as a brand. An example of a young footballer who used the Premier League as a platform to advertise himself as a brand is 24-year-old Paul Pogba, who used perimeter advertising to promote the hashtag #Pogba, in line with successfully launching his own brand of football boots.
Wenger made it clear that this won’t be the last we see of the talented striker, adding: “Life gives a chance to young people and hopefully he will make a long career at Arsenal. We are proud to give young players a chance.”
The football fan base certainly now knows the name Eddie Nketiah, who scored after only 15 seconds on the pitch, and many are expecting to see a lot more of the young talent in the coming months.