Darren Bent admits that he is baffled by what the future holds for Leeds United striker Eddie Nketiah after seeing the hitman net for England’s under-21s on Friday.
The former Aston Villa and England forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the 20-year-old is facing a big season while on loan at Elland Road, suggesting he needs to impress to avoid another temporary exit from Arsenal next season.
The young hitman struck from the penalty spot in the Young Lions’ 2-2 draw with Slovenia on Friday, making it five goals in seven appearances for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.
With Nketiah yet to make a single Championship start during his time at Elland Road, Bent says that the youngster is going to find himself returning to Arsenal and facing another temporary spell elsewhere next summer.
Bent told Football Insider: “He is playing well and Leeds are in a bit of a funny one at the minute. Patrick Bamford puts in such a shift for the team and that’s why he’s probably still in there.
“Eddie Nketiah, to be fair to him, is still sticking the ball in when he’s getting the opportunities. It’s a bit of a weird one because it’s where does Eddie Nketiah go from here?
“If he continues like he is at the minute, through no fault of his own – it’s just that the team are preferring Bamford – what happens to him next season? He’s not going to go back to Arsenal and play, not with the firepower they’ve got there already, so they’re going to be looking for another loan.
“You’re thinking: ‘A loan, again, really?’ So this is a big season for him.”
Nketiah has scored four goals in his nine appearances under Marcelo Bielsa this season, with two of those strikes coming in his seven league outings.
He has played 19 times for his parent club after coming through the youth ranks in north London.