Mikel Arteta has discussed his decision to allow Folarin Balogun to leave Arsenal this summer and his pride at Eddie Nketiah’s first England call-up.
The 24-year-old is England’s all-time record goalscorer at u-21 level with 16 goals in 17 games, but this week’s inclusion represents a first for Nketiah in the senior set-up.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United, Arteta spoke on his pride at Nketiah’s call-up to the national team.
“So pleased,” Arteta said on Nketiah’s England inclusion.
“If somebody deserves it that’s him. I love his mentality, his work rate how much he loves his game. In this country you have to be phenomenal to play there. So proud of him.”
The presence of Nketiah and fellow forward Gabriel Jesus has seen Folarin Balogun leave Arsenal in search of regular first-team football.
Balogun scored 21 goals on loan at French side Reims last season, but the Gunners have sanctioned his sale to AS Monaco in a £38m deal.
“We didn’t have now space for him to give him the minutes that he needs,” Arteta said on Balogun.
“He did really well in his loan. He wanted to continue to develop. He’s gone to a club with a good record of developing youth.”