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'Great player' Nketiah hailed by Leeds team-mate as Arsenal striker awaits first league start

4:34 PM WAT 14/11/2019
Eddie Nketiah Leeds United 2019-20
The on-loan Gunners forward has scored five goals in all competitions since moving to Elland Road in August but is yet to become a regular starter

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has been backed to reach the very top by current Leeds United team-mate Illan Meslier, with the striker currently on loan at Elland Road.

Nketiah joined the Championship promotion chasers on a season-long deal in August, and has so far contributed five goals in 12 appearances across all competitions.

He is yet to make a league start for Marcelo Bielsa's side, however, with the Argentine manager instead opting to keep faith with Patrick Bamford as his lone striker.

That has angered some Gunners fans who believe that a player they hope will develop into a first-team regular at the Emirates Stadium deserves more opportunities given his contributions off the bench.

Such fervour has led to reports that Nketiah could be recalled by the Premier League outfit in January and sent to another club for the second half of the season.

Despite that, goalkeeper Meslier, who also joined Leeds on loan over the summer from Ligue 2 side Lorient, hailed his 20-year-old club-mate.

"We have a great relationship and I think he will be a great player in the future," he told Goal in an exclusive interview.

"He's very strong, he's fast, he finishes well. He's a really good player who can go even higher."

Nketiah is not the only loan player to have impressed for Leeds this season as they look to gain promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated to the Championship in 2004.

Brighton centre-back Ben White joined the club having previously impressed during loan spells at Newport County and Peterborough United, and has quickly become one of the first names on Bielsa's teamsheet.

Equally adept at carrying the ball out of defence and picking a forward pass as he is making last-ditch tackles and key interceptions, White has been instrumental in Leeds' climb up to third place in the Championship table after 16 games.

The West Yorkshire outfit have conceded just nine league goals all season  - only Leicester City have conceded fewer (eight) in England's top four divisions - with White stepping seamlessly into the position vacated by Pontus Jansson after he left for Brentford in pre-season.

Manchester United have reportedly been monitoring his progress, and Meslier could not help but be impressed by the 22-year-old.

"He's unbelievable. He's off to a good start to the season," the France Under-20 international said.

"Last year I think he was in League One. This is his first year in the Championship and he's shown he's at that level. Brighton has a very good player on its hands."

Leeds are back in action after the international break on November 23 when they visit Luton Town.