Eddie Nketiah has been backed to follow in the footsteps of Thierry Henry after taking the Arsenal legend’s famous no.14 shirt.

The 23-year-old striker put pen to paper on a new contract with the Gunners on Saturday, and the announcement featured one bit of news that left some supporters stunned.

Nketiah poses with his new shirt alongside Arsenal director of football, Edu

Getty

Nketiah poses with his new shirt alongside Arsenal director of football, Edu

Can Nketiah do Henry’s famous No.14 shirt justice?

AFP or licensors

Can Nketiah do Henry’s famous No.14 shirt justice?

Nketiah was rewarded with a new deal after a strong end to the season – scoring five goals in the last seven Premier League games.

But as well as fresh terms with his boyhood club, the young striker was also handed the no.14 shirt by manager Mikel Arteta and director of football Edu – a momentous upgrade from his previous no.30.

The significance of the switch was lost on nobody, with some fans doubting why Nketiah – who was close to leaving Arsenal this summer as he stalled in new contract negotiations – was given the honour.

Others doubted whether he can deal with the pressure of wearing one of the most iconic shirts in English football history give it is now synonymous with Arsenal record goalscorer and Premier League great Henry.

But Nketiah has been hailed for the decision, with Rangers legend Ally McCoist saying it shows immense strength of character.

“That’s probably the only number you wouldn’t really want at Arsenal,” the former striker told the talkSPORT Breakfast.

Henry is Arsenal’s record scorer, winning two Premier League titles in eight glorious years at the club

Getty Images – Getty

Henry is Arsenal’s record scorer, winning two Premier League titles in eight glorious years at the club

Nketiah enjoyed a brilliant end to the season for Arsenal and is set to be given a bigger role in the team next term

AFP

Nketiah enjoyed a brilliant end to the season for Arsenal and is set to be given a bigger role in the team next term

“Because whether you like it or not, there will be a section of supporters who always judge you on the previous No.14, and that must be very, very difficult.

“It does show some strength of character from Nketiah, ‘throwing on the no.14 doesn’t matter to me, I’ll handle that’.”

Speaking on the Boot Room, former West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand said taking the famous shirt will pile pressure on the striker to deliver next season, possibly too much for the 23-year-old to cope with.

But former Arsenal star Perry Groves disagrees, insisting the decision shows Nketiah’s confidence and self-belief that he can be one of Arsenal’s main players.

“He’s taken the No.14 shirt, does that have a pressure with it? No, I like the way he’s actually taken it and thought ‘yes’.

Nketiah looks overjoyed at being Arsenal’s new No.14

Getty

Nketiah looks overjoyed at being Arsenal’s new No.14

“I would have thought they would have talked about it and Mikel Arteta would have offered it to him.

“And that’s another statement, saying you’re going to be one of my main players. It depends who Arsenal sign, of course, I still think we need another forward. We need competition for places.

“Following in Thierry Henry’s footsteps, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s footsteps as well.

“I think it’s a testament to Nketiah and his belief in himself that he’s brave enough to take that shirt.”

Offers Of The Day

Bet365 – Bet £10 Get £50 In Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE

Open account offer. Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply 18+ Begambleaware.org

Source

Previous articleTottenham hope to beat Manchester United to Ajax star Antony with Steven Bergwijn swap deal
Next articleJordan Henderson trains alongside ex-Red at Liverpool’s popular Portugal spot