Arsenal are no strangers in developing and nurturing young talent, particularly in the current climate. Reiss Nelson is another one of those players involved in the next generation of young Gunners emerging from the academy.
Nelson, 19, has been at the club for 10 years and has rapidly moved up the age groups after making a fantastic impression to his youth coaches at the time. He has evolved into a dangerous winger and his versatility has enabled him to be able to play on either flank. His six goals in 16 matches for the U23s during the 2016/17 term got the ball rolling in terms of his career. A year later, he would top that by scoring nine goals in 11 games and walked away with the PL2 Player of the Year accolade for the 2017/18 campaign.
Having made just three first-team appearances that season, he was not deemed ready by Unai Emery and was sent on loan to play for Hoffenheim in Germany. It was a stunning opportunity for the youngster who experienced Champions League football for the first time as well as 23 appearances in the Bundesliga, scoring seven goals during a successful loan spell. He was praised by former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker who said he had the right to make an impact in Germany by embracing himself into the German culture, illustrating maturity and professionalism.
The youngster’s career has been anything but plain sailing, the 19-year-old was dropped by Hoffenheim as an “educational feature” that German media described as “obviously disciplinary reasons” as he missed the club’s 2-1 win against Nurnberg.
Having picked up lots of experience at the age of 19, Nelson has matured a lot faster than other 19-year-old footballers at this stage of their career. Having represented England for both U19 and U21 levels, Emery feels that the youngster is part of the long term future of Arsenal.