Eddie Nketiah accepts he has to embrace the ‘dog-eat-dog’ nature of his relations with his Arsenal strike partners if he has any hopes of dislodging them.
The 21-year-old has been pushing for a regular role in Mikel Arteta’s front line this season but has been left largely subdued.
So far this campaign Nketiah has started just once in the Premier League, making an additional seven appearances as a substitute.
Gunners’ captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are the men standing in his way, but Nketiah is happy to keep learning his trade from the duo – at least for now.
“I’ve got a very good relationship with both of them,” Nketiah told former England striker Alan Shearer for The Athletic . “They’re top players whose records speak for themselves.
“Off the pitch, they’re great guys. As a young player, to compete with them, to push each other, is brilliant.
“I watch how they finish in a certain way, ask them how got into a certain position or what they were thinking when they got there.
“Training with them just raises your level. I’m so grateful to have them.”
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Nketiah refers to Aubameyang, 31, and Lacazette, 29, as “big brothers”, and has had to be patient and take his chances when called upon.
His only league start came in the win against Sheffield United last month, with Lacazette cutting a dejected figure when dropped to the bench as a result.
Asked if he felt any guilt about taking the Frenchman’s place, Nketiah replied: “You can’t, to be fair. That’s the aim, isn’t it?” and agreed the life of a striker was a ‘dog-eat-dog world’.
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Nketiah will be hoping for another opportunity again on Sunday, as Arsenal travel to his former loan club Leeds.
Arteta recalled his forward after a frustrating spell at Elland Road, but Nketiah feels the experience was nothing but a positive one.
“Looking back on it, I have no regrets,” he added. “I learned a lot and I pushed myself to an extent I probably hadn’t done before. I’m very grateful for my time there.”