Reiss Nelson gets one more chance by Dan Smith
It was in 2017 that Arsene Wenger used the Europa League to blood graduates from our academy.
This included Joe Willock, Maitland Niles, Bukayo Saka and with the biggest reputation, Reiss Nelson.
Four years later Nelson’s career has gone full circle, with stops to Germany and Holland along the way, Nelson is still in need of UEFA’s secondary competition to prove he’s good enough to play for Arsenal.
In reality, he knows that only injury meant he didn’t depart in the summer. Like Niles he most likely would have been loaned out till his contract expired (another example of the club lying to us when they said talent would no longer be allowed to run down their deals.)
The 22-year-old had to deal with the issue that most young British players face, being hyped up and told how great they are before ever achieving anything.
We managed to cash in on Joe Willock before it became apparent, he was average at best, yet we probably regret not cashing in on Niles when clubs were willing to give us 20 million for him.
How many games will Reiss Nelson play to be able to prove to his manager he deserves a new deal?
Maybe the 5 remaining Europa ties, a League Cup tie.
It makes Bodo/Glimt one of the biggest games of his career. Due to injury forcing him to miss preseason, he might not be match fit yet, but Arteta has hinted he will get his opportunity.
It’s not about seeing if he has the talent to be better than a team from Norway.
It’s about seeing that personality, that character, that swagger.
Does he demand the ball? Does he express himself?
Does he play the safe ball?
Too often in an Arsenal shirt he played like someone grateful to be there, but not believing he belongs on that stage.
Away from that pressure, he did okay at Hoffenheim and Feyenoord.
It’s now or never.
My initial reaction is at 22 he can’t keep hiding behind the youth card. He’s at an age where he needs to be playing.
I don’t think that’s in North London, but it’s up to him to prove me wrong…
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