'To be honest': Arsenal player admits he was shocked when Chelsea let him go

Eddie Nketiah has confessed that it was a surprise when Chelsea got rid of him at a young age.

Speaking to the Beautiful Game Podcast, the Arsenal striker revealed that the decision to leave Cobham was totally out of his hands.

Eddie slipped through Chelsea’s net

Before joining the Gunners, Nketiah began his footballing journey in the South West of London.

He was scouted by Chelsea at the age of nine and remained there for seven years until the club opted to discharge him.  

The now 22-year-old played in quite a prestigious age group, sharing the pitch with the likes of Mason Mount and Declan Rice, with Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James coming just behind them.

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

But despite scoring consistently for the youth teams, Nketiah’s Chelsea career ended before it hard properly began.  

“It wasn’t really my choice to be fair. I was at Chelsea from Under-10s to 14s and I got released at the end of under-14s so, it was kind of my first big set back in football,” admitted the Arsenal forward.

“It came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I was in the same age (group) as Declan, Mason, all these guys.

“So, when you’re young, it’s all you know. Going to Chelsea, in school you’re known as the kid who goes to Chelsea.

“It’s part of your identity, it’s hard to let go.

“It was tough to take to be fair, especially as I was doing so well at the time.”

Shooting for the Gunners

It didn’t take long for Nketiah to get up and running again in the capital, as Arsenal quickly snatched up him shortly after cutting ties with Chelsea.

He has since played nearly 100 senior games for the Gunners, scoring 18 times.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

But his best work was saved for the Under-23s, where he bagged 28 goals in just 40 appearances.

Nketiah might get even more chances under Mikel Arteta next season, depending on what happens with Alexandre Lacazette over the summer.

Had he remained a blue, he might well be playing for Thomas Tuchel.

Frank Lampard promoted several youth players to his side, including Mount, James, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

Abraham and Tomori have since moved on, but it goes to show that opportunities will arise at Stamford Bridge for those in the academy.  

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."