Eddie-mania: Arsenal wonderkid Nketiah grateful to 'crazy' Whites fans who helped him decide on Elland Road move
A month ago Eddie Nketiah knew Leeds United had a big fanbase, today he knows Whites fans are 'crazy.'
The fans helped bring Eddie Nketiah to Elland Road and their passion is one of the reasons the Arsenal wonderkid is enjoying early life with the Whites.
Nketiah was on the wishlist for a glut of clubs this summer but spurned the likes of Bristol City and Fortuna Düsseldorf for a season under Marcelo Bielsa’s care.
His arrival on loan was the source of much excitement among the Whites fanbase and three goals from four shots, in four appearances, has only added to status as an instant favourite.
Every time he picked up the ball on Tuesday night against Stoke, there was a frisson of excitement around Elland Road.
Fans have chanted his name even when he's not been on the pitch - a right most loanees have to fight hard to earn, never mind greenhorn 20-year-olds fresh out of a Premier League youth system.
Eddie-mania has gripped Leeds and he's over the moon to have gone over so well, so quickly.
“The fans are crazy,” he said.
“That’s really been a big part of enjoying my time here, how quickly they’ve taken to me.
“I’m delighted for them to take to me so early, I’m really grateful for that.”
Nketiah is highly rated by his Premier League parent club.
He played a part in Arsenal's pre-season and Leeds believe it was only the £72m club record signing of Nicolas Pepe that denied Nketiah first team action this season.
A hotly-contested race for his services was no surprise, when a season-long loan became a possibility.
Other clubs were close to the finish line when Victor Orta went to London and pitched to Arsenal on behalf of Leeds United, the Whites stooping to break the tape and leave the likes of Bristol in their wake, on deadline day.
The fans and their social media bombardment of the striker helped push Leeds' bid over the line and determine Elland Road as his 2019/20 home.
He was impressed by what he learned when he did his homework on the Whites and has since seen further evidence to back up his initial assessment of the club’s following.
“Even when I was deciding to sign here or not, the support I was getting from the fans and the media was great.
“Everyone tries to put their case across.
“Obviously I did my research about the club, I heard about how big the turnout is every week and the following.
“You saw that on Tuesday night, to have 30,000 at a cup game is top.
“I feel like it’s a good platform for me to play in and enjoy.
“I’m excited to keep playing in front of them.”
Goals win games, they also win hearts.
Any striker who can put the ball in the net consistently is always likely to find adulation in the stands.
But Nketiah feels the way he approaches the game - he chases and reaches seemingly lost causes thanks to his pace and is very willing to take on defenders or shots at goal - is also recognised and appreciated by supporters.
He's vowed to carry on putting his all in for the Whites cause.
“I always try to do something positive when I’m on the ball and I think fans like to see that, someone who will take someone on, run in behind," he said.
“I’m a positive player, I feel like the fans like that, they like to see players working hard and I always try to do that.
“I’m going to continue to give my all and hopefully do well for the club, I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.”