Reiss Nelson has been ruled out of Feyenoord’s UEFA Conference debut against Maccabi Haifa due to an ‘overstretching’.
Manager Arne Slot has tried to defend the player, who the Dutch media have accused of showing up not fit. Instead the coach insists it’s a consequence of training in Holland being more intense than England.
Some have translated that as criticism of Mikel Arteta but in reality, it’s a poor reflection on Nelson.
This loan will make or break his Gunners career, a final chance to prove his boss wrong. Arteta only started him twice in the Prem last season and seems to have lost faith in the winger.
The 21-year-old had a full pre-season and has come off the bench twice in this campaign so there is no reason for him not to be in top condition.
You get one chance to make a first impression and unfortunately this isn’t ideal for the midfielder.
Talent is not in question. You don’t graduate from our academy if you don’t have quality. What you need to show when you make the first team is personality. Do you believe you belong at this level?
Do you demand the ball, or do you hide?
Do you make the easy pass out of fear of getting things wrong?
For years we were told that, based on ability, Nelson was the one to watch from our youth set up. Ironically, he’s made the least progress, with Saka showing a fearless streak, Maitland Niles has played in Cup Finals and been capped, and Joe Willock used his loan spell to become a first-choice midfielder for Newcastle.
Even though all parties agreed to extend Nelson’s contract by a year you sense that was the club protecting his value.
What Arteta needs is to see something or hear feedback that will change his perception of the player.
Our head coach has a history of discarding individuals who he feels do not meet his values or ethos. It’s up to Reiss Nelson to change his mind.
Mr Slot not being impressed with the condition that Nelson has shown up in is not what Arteta wants to hear.
The Spaniard himself was critical of the level of fitness he found Emery had left the Gunners squad in. He demands a high intensity and there’s zero evidence to suggest we tire in games
When Arteta introduced a new regime in January 2020 which saw a tougher fitness schedule, Reiss Nelson’s body broke down then. a hamstring injury keeping him out for three months.
To clarify, the last two times he’s worked with new people with a high emphasis on intense training, his mind has been willing, but his body has not.
Mr Slot has simply confirmed the perception that Arteta has of the player.
If I was Reiss Nelson, I would have begged his temporary coach to not make his opinions public, because it makes his chances in North London even smaller than they already were.
The one thing he couldn’t afford Arteta to be told was that he’s finding training too intense. If he’s finding training in Holland too intense then how can he be expected to cope back in the UK.?
Already this move might have confirmed that Reiss Nelson can’t cope at this level.
The opposite of what a loan should do
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