Eddie Nketiah said he will continue to knuckle down at Arsenal to force his way into Mikel Arteta’s Premier League plans.
The 22-year-old striker scored Arsenal’s second in a 2-0 win over Leeds United in the EFL Cup fourth round on Tuesday, which took his tally to seven goals in eight appearances in the competition.
Nketiah, who had three shots with two on target in the match, has yet to feature in the league this season for the Gunners and is eager to press his claims with head coach Arteta.
“It is always nice to play, it’s obviously been a while,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ve been working hard, waiting for this opportunity. I was confident and ready and it’s always nice to score and help your team.
“We’re on a good run at the moment and it’s about continuing to work hard. We push each other every day in training and the results come in the match.
“I’m happy for the boys and it’s nice to get involved and contribute.”
Nketiah said all of Arsenal’s fringe players have to take their chance whenever they get them, especially given their recent upturn in form, which has seen them go eight games unbeaten in all competitions.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” Nketiah added.
“The manager picks the starting line-up but we have to work our hardest in training, and when we get the opportunities, we perform like we did today. I think everyone should be proud of themselves.”
Arsenal’s opening goal was scored by Calum Chambers who headed home just 24 seconds after he had come on as a substitute following an injury to Ben White.
The defender sprinted to celebrate with the Arsenal bench and one person in Arteta’s backroom staff in particular after the ball was deemed to have crossed the line by goal-line technology.
“Our set piece coach Nico told me, ‘you’re going to score from your first touch’, so that’s why I went running over to him. It was a nice moment,” Chambers said.
“I was pretty confident it went over, I saw the ball over the line so I was just waiting for the referee to give it. Luckily he did.
“It’s always going to be tough against Leeds. They’re a very unique team in the way that they play so you have to be on it, you have to be at it and we knew that going into the game.
“We stood up to the test and came out with a win.”
Chambers claimed Arsenal’s players are determined to go as far as they can in the EFL Cup, which they last won in 1993, even though it is down the list of priorities for other clubs.
“Every competition is very important for Arsenal,” he said, with the draw for the quarter-finals on Saturday.
“We want to be competing for silverware, so as I said it’s good for players like us who want to prove a point and get back in the team and when we do, we need to take it. Every competition is important to us.”