When you put the words Eddie Nketiah, Arsenal, Leeds United and Aston Villa into the same sentence, I’m reasonably sure you shouldn’t be able to come up with an article like this.
The life of a pundit is a difficult and tricky affair. Tasked with the simple challenge of making up a comment that’s worthy of being printed, well, they often make unexpected cock-ups as they try and demonstrate knowledge and insight that is far beyond a simple fans comprehension. It’s not always easy mind, Vital Villa users will be well aware of the clangers I often make when fingers don’t quite keep up with the brain (if I’m allowed to call it that) but former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan is beginning to make me think I can do no wrong.
Those with long memories will know, now BBC commentator Whelan, really stepped up to pundit world last summer and one of his opening gambits when commenting on life at Villa Park concerned our permanent capture of Kortney Hause. Fair’s fair, he was positive about the transfer, he knew we needed defenders and he believed that Hause would turn into a fantastic capture for us. The rub was, he questioned whether he could adapt to life in B6, seemingly being unaware that we’d had him on loan since the previous January and he’d already played for us.
Hey ho, everyone makes a mistake or two.
So imagine how I giggled as he piped up on his pet club, and gave his thoughts on whether a move to Villa would suit former Leeds loanee Nketiah.
“Well is he going to get in the Aston Villa side? That’s the thing. He would have been better off staying at Leeds United, getting more minutes, it means nothing if you’re at a Premier League side and sitting on the bench. He might as well stay at Arsenal, and play for the U-23s quite honestly. He is not going to make any more progress in his career at Aston Villa than he would have at Leeds United. And he would have got more game time and worked under a fantastic manager, Dean Smith is fantastic, but he was settled at Leeds so I find it a little bit ridiculous. But if that ends up being his choice, that’s his choice. You can’t moan about the player wanting to play at the highest level, but he could have been part of something special. And now he could be part of a relegation battle.”
Nketiah joined Leeds over the summer on loan and has taken in four starts, and 15 substitute showings in the first half of the year. He scored five times and manager Marcelo Bielsa was critical about his team ethic when it came to leading the line instead of just thinking about getting on the scoresheet.
Now, whether he’s the type of striker we could do with or not, that’s an entirely different debate.
But given he couldn’t get into their starting XI, and we’ve got no senior strikers, how highly does Whelan rate Nketiah if he thinks he’d have got more playing time at Leeds – where he really wasn’t getting playing time (500 minutes in the Championship so far).
Moreso, that he should stay at Arsenal and play Under 23 level – who would his competition be at Villa, Lovre Kalinic?
Again, whether or not we are interested in the lad and he is highly rated, if Whelan thinks he can’t nail down a place in a side with no strikers then maybe it’s time to think of a different career?
Those comments are definitely a ‘little bit ridiculous’ but then again, how long before somebody spots something I missed in a proof read!
No, We Need Experience
Give Me A Minute, I'm Still Laughing At Whelan