This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
When Eddie Nketiah signed on loan for Leeds United from Arsenal in the summer, there was no guarantee that he would be starting every week.
Patrick Bamford scored 9 goals in 16 league starts and 7 substitute appearances last season, so it would have been a huge call for Marcelo Bielsa to drop him in favour of the unproven youngster.
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However, the former Chelsea striker has scored 5 from the same number of starts this time around, yet Nketiah is still yet to start a single league game the Whites.
His only two appearances from the starting whistle have come in the Carabao Cup against Salford City and Stoke City, and the 20-year-old scored in both of those games.
In addition to those finishes, he has 3 goals in the league, despite having played just 265 minutes of Championship football this campaign – that tally including the header that rescued a point against Preston North End after coming on with just 13 minutes left.
All of this makes it difficult to understand why the England U21 international has not been trusted by Bielsa to start games yet.
It also gives Arsenal a dilemma as to whether they should leave the striker at Elland Road for the season’s entirety or recall him to send him out to a new club where opportunities will be easier to come by.
This comes after The Athletic reported that if Nketiah doesn’t hit a certain amount of game time, the Gunners have the right to recall him, with Bristol City waiting in the wings to come in and nab him for the second half of the campaign, having missed out the first time around.
There are certainly options for both Arsenal and Nketiah if Bielsa persists to not use him adequately, so there could be a big decision to be made when the January window reopens for business.