Wenger surprised, cautious over showing from Arsenal's Nketiah

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger says he has never seen a young player make the kind of instant impact Eddie Nketiah did in Tuesday's 2-1 extra-time win over Norwich -- but cautioned against raising expectations on the 18-year-old too quickly.

Nketiah saved Arsenal's Carabao Cup campaign by netting twice after coming on as an 85th-minute substitute, equalising with his first touch and then heading home a corner six minutes into extra time.

And despite making a habit of playing youngsters in this competition, Wenger admitted he had never seen anything like it.

"No I can't remember [a similar impact by a teenager], in a game like that," Wenger said.

Nketiah only made his debut as a late substitute in the 4-2 Europa League win over BATE Borisov last month, and this was his first appearance at the Emirates.

The striker has long been known as a prolific scorer for the club's youth teams, though, and Wenger said he proved he can deliver on the big stage as well.

"I know he has the qualities, but when a team needs you and you can deliver, that's another quality that you don't know before you put a player on. And he's shown that," Wenger said. "I like especially the header he scored, because he is not tall.

"Heading is a determined attitude, so that shows as well character and a desire to score."

Still, Wenger was eager to play down expectations on Nketiah, especially when asked to compare him to a young Ian Wright.

"Let's not be too quick," Wenger said. "One of the big problems in modern society is to give them time to develop and not making stars too quickly."

The 18-year-old Nketiah also became the first player born after Wenger became Arsenal manager in 1996 to score a goal for the club. The 68-year-old Wenger could only laugh at that statistic.

"Unfortunately that happens now, yes. I must say I am impressed by that, to think that he was not even conceived when I was already here," Wenger said. "But it's good as well because life gives chance to young people.

"And hopefully he will make a long career at Arsenal football club. We are proud to give a chance to young players, it's part of our DNA and we want to continue to do that."