Is Jeff ready for first team football?
Remember the name Jeff Reine-Adelaide because although I’m sure you’re already more than aware of one of the youth team’s most promising talents, there’s a big chance that he will go on to big things at Arsenal.
Arsenal signed Jeff from French side Lens in 2015, for him to originally link up with Arsenal youth team. In the youth side, Jeff would continue to develop and add the specific traits to his game, that’ll make him a fantastic player for the Gunners in the future. Only a year on and Jeff’s name is already getting mentioned on first team sheets, with the player recently a part of the Premier League squads against both Burnley and Middlesborough. Jeff may not have featured in those matches, but the fact that he is there on the bench, rather than at Under 21 games, shows at least that Arsene Wenger has confidence in the young player, should he be called upon.
Reine-Adelaide had another deserved chance to show us his talents, in this evening’s EFL Cup match against Reading FC. The Frenchman lasted 66 minutes on the pitch before he was replaced. I must admit he was guilty at overplaying a little bit, perhaps because of first team nerves and his intentions to impress us all. Instead he should’ve perhaps released the ball at an earlier opportunity. However his decision making will grow with confidence and more regular playing time. I thought besides that he looked bright, energetic and he was a creative spark on the pitch on more than one occasion.
Arsene Wenger spoke before tonight’s match on how he now believes that Reine-Adelaide is ready to step up to the first team on a more regular basis, with potentially more appearances to be made this season. Based upon tonight’s performance I’d say that he should certainly get another shot, much like Iwobi was gradually eased at the same stage last season.
Wenger said: “My belief is that Jeff is ready to play because he has it all in his locker – the strength, the physical power, the technical level. He has to add efficiency to his game – that will come with games as well – but he will have an opportunity to show that I am right about him. And part of a career is to grab your opportunity when you get it. So for Jeff, tonight could be an important night, but I am confident he will do well.”
Tonight’s performance will go a long way for Jeff, because the EFL Cup this season is his real chance to show the boss and the fans what he is capable of. Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club really do believe in Jeff’s talents and will certainly give him the opportunities he needs, in order to break into the first team squad.
In terms of beyond tonight’s fixture, although I think it will be hard for Jeff to break into the Arsenal starting eleven, especially as Mesut Ozil plays in the Frenchman’s preferred position of attacking midfield, there is no doubt that he may begin to make a few more substitute appearances. Competition is already high in the middle of the park, with six first team midfielders already fighting for a slot. To add Jeff to that conundrum in midfield, it’s not going to be easy for Arsene Wenger, however if anything I think it spells more bad news to the likes of Wilshere, rather than to Reine Adelaide.
Will Reine-Adelaide be the next youngster to follow Bellerin and Iwobi out of the Arsenal youth set up?