This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
After scoring a hat-trick whilst on international duty with England’s U21 side, Eddie Nketiah has been attracting considerable praise from a former Young Lions manager, with comparisons to Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah being made in the style of play between the Leeds United striker and the Champions League-winning forward.
Stuart Pearce, formerly manager of England’s U21s from 2007 to 2013, told BT Sport (via Goal) that Nketiah’s movement holds parallels to Salah, who joined the Reds for £34m in 2017, despite the Arsenal loanee having not started a Championship game for the Whites so far this season.
“I think if I was a striker in this day and age, a young English striker, I’d just copy Mo Salah in his movement, running in behind,” Pearce told BT Sport (via Goal)
“Nketiah’s certainly got that trait about him. The ones that run in behind are the ones that score goals in the modern game.”
Although Nketiah is yet to start a Championship game for Leeds in 2019/20, the forward has still scored four goals in nine appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and the 20-year-old spoke out this week to air his frustrations at the lack of game-time he has been getting at Elland Road.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay revealed the extensive presentation that Leeds gave to Arsenal in a bid to convince Arsenal to allow the forward to spend the season in West Yorkshire, but so far Bielsa has been cautious to utilise the England U21 striker’s talents.
Bielsa has instead favoured Patrick Bamford in the starting striker berth for the Whites, though Nketiah has scored the same number of goals despite playing 535 minutes less than Bamford across all competitions.
After arriving on loan at Leeds, Nketiah would have been hopeful of gaining a regular run in a Championship side who are likely to feature in the promotion picture for the 2019/20 campaign.
Pearce’s comments point to a player who unquestionably has the ability to compete in the Championship, and with just one win in their last four league matches, Bielsa may well be tempted to hand him his first start this weekend.