Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah relishing Premier League return to make fans smile again after Covid-19 shutdown

George Flood
Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Eddie Nketiah is looking forward to the chance to put smiles back on the faces of Arsenal fans once the Premier League season resumes later this month.

The 2019-20 top-flight campaign is provisionally due to restart on Wednesday, June 17 following a three-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arsenal - who will resume the season sitting ninth and eight points adrift of the top four - are expected to take part in one of the opening pair of matches on that date as they prepare to face Manchester City, with Sheffield United and Aston Villa also due to lock horns as the league looks to get those two games in hand out of the way before running its first full round of fixtures.

Like all of their Premier League rivals, the Gunners - who also have an FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United on the horizon but are out of the Europa League - have worked through the phases of 'Project Restart', returning to work individually and then in socially-distanced, small-group sessions before the first-team squad resumed contact training at London Colney last week.

And with players and staff at all clubs being tested for Covid-19 twice a week ahead of the league's return, Arsenal frontman Nketiah is happy with the safety protocols in place and the opportunity to return to something resembling a normal routine.

"The most important thing is everyone's safety. I think that was the first concern for all of us, for me it was my family's safety and the people around me," he told Sky Sports.

"I think the club and the Premier League are taking such great measures to make sure everyone is safe, we get tested so often, there's very minimal room for error.

"It's something to do you know, to get back out there and get a bit of routine back, I think it's good for all of us.

Ready to go: Eddie Nketiah in Arsenal training at London Colney (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

"Obviously it's difficult times for everyone, so hopefully if we're able to get back playing, be able to put a smile on the fans' faces, even if they are not able to come to the matches, it will give them something to do at home.

"I definitely think it's a positive, but on the same note I believe that we all have to make sure that we continue to abide by the rules and try to make sure everyone is staying safe and we're looking after one another.

"That's definitely most important."

Nketiah had scored three goals in seven appearances for Arsenal in 2019-20 prior to English football's coronavirus shutdown - two in FA Cup wins over Bournemouth and Portsmouth respectively and also the Gunners' opener in a thrilling 3-2 Premier League victory over Everton in February.

The England Under-21 international will no doubt be relishing the chance to further impress manager Mikel Arteta, having been kept at the club in January rather than sent back out on loan following his recall from a stint at Championship leaders Leeds United.

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