The 18-year-old bagged two goals, a tap-in near the end of the match and a header in extra time to help Arsenal advance into the next round. Despite his starry start, Nketiah insists he tries to keep a cool head about his future.
“I’m just thankful for the boss for giving me that opportunity to play and show what I can do.” He told Arsenal TV. “It’s a dream come true for me to get on and score not just one, but two goals to win us the game.
“That’s the most important thing and I’m just thankful for all the fans for the support they gave me, it’s great. I’m a childhood fan of the club, so for the fans to get behind me like that is a dream come true, I’m delighted and grateful.
“I’ve always dreamt about this as a kid and hopefully they can continue to support me and I can continue to get chances and impress them really, that’s what it’s about.”
Nketiah, born in London, started his career for the Chelsea youth set up but was released by the club after seven years amidst doubts over his physical capability to deal with Premier League defenders. He eventually joined the Arsenal academy, scoring 24 goals in 28 games for the U-18s and securing a first-team berth in the Gunners’ Europa League clash with BATE Borisov in September. Despite starting his football career at Chelsea, Nketiah insists he’s always been drawn to Arsenal legends.
“[I grew up watching] Thierry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright – they were all great strikers and attacking players and I watched them a lot, especially Thierry.
“When he was working with us I used to work with him quite a bit on and off the field, so I’m just trying to emulate even a little bit of what they can do, that would be a dream come true for me.”