Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas believes that Eddie Nketiah deserves a place in the Gunners squad against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final. The 18-year-old burst onto the scene earlier this season, scoring two off the bench to help Arsenal beat Norwich in the Round of 16.
The striker did not make the pitch in mid-week against Ostersunds despite being on the bench and Nicholas believes that Arsene Wenger should invest more faith in Arsenal's youngsters in the absence of senior stars. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ineligible against City in the Carabao Cup final, while Alexandre Lacazette is injured.
Danny Welbeck has been starting up front for the Gunners in the absence of Lacazette in cup competitions, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has donned the mantle as the first-choice striker at the club. The Gabon international made his way from Borussia Dortmund in the summer and put his name on the scoreboard in his first game, a 5-1 thrashing of Everton at the Emirates.
Nketiah is Arsenal's top-scorer in the Carabao Cup heading into the final but his place in the squad was thrown into doubt after he played the entire 90 minutes for Arsenal's Under-23 side in their 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb Youth in the Premier League International Cup.
However, Nicholas believes Nketiah deserves a place in the squad given his performances and the current state of the squad. He also criticised the Gunners for not giving youngsters enough opportunities which leads them to eventually petering out.
"I would like to think so [he'd be in the squad]," Nicholas said on Sky Sports, as quoted by the Express. "The kid again was on the bench [against Ostersunds]. I thought, midweek, 'Why not play him?'
"This is what happens with Arsenal, we started questioning the actual ability of these kids. Attitude, yes correct, you can pinpoint, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's negative.
"But these kids get a chance to help you out when you're in a hole and you don't see them for six-eight weeks. Then all of a sudden these games pop up.
"[Henrikh] Mkhitaryan's missing and a few others are missing, so why not give him the opportunity? What other choices do Arsenal have? There's not very many regular choices that you can pick from. We're desperate just to get [Aaron] Ramsey fit."