Unai Emery named 19-year-old winger Reiss Nelson in his starting XI for Arsenal’s first game of the season on Sunday. The Gunners got their Premier League campaign off to a strong start with a 1-0 win against Newcastle United.
Nelson impressed at St James’ Park, showing flashes of real quality. The teenaged academy graduate is highly thought of at Arsenal and has huge potential. The youngster spent last season on loan with German club Hoffenheim. He bagged seven goals in the Bundesliga. He has now returned to north London ready to compete for inclusion in Emery’s team.
However, competition for starting places will be fierce. There is plenty of attacking talent at the Emirates Stadium. Nelson will have to contend with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe being ahead of him in the pecking order.
That being said, time is on Nelson’s side, and he appears to be relishing being in such illustrious company. As quoted by Football.London, Nelson understands his role in the squad well and said, “I just want to take things as they come. I need to be prepared all the time for whenever I get the call-up because I know it’s not guaranteed I’m going to be starting week in, week out with the team-mates we have. We have Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette. They are great stars and I’m still only young so I need to sit back and when I get my chance take it”.
These comments show that Nelson is remaining level-headed about his situation. Realistically, his opportunities to start Premier League games will be somewhat limited this season – especially when Pepe and Lacazette are fully fit. However, Arsenal fans will want to see him pushing for a place in the team.
Waiting for his chance to come around is one thing, but pushing for an opportunity every day in training is another. Nelson needs to force his way into Emery’s thinking everyday. If he can do that, then he truly has a bright future in north London.