Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson is showing that he is ready to make his mark in the first-team squad this season, having played his part in our success this weekend.
The winger made his presence known ahead of the penalty shoot-out, and put himself forward to take the opening penalty, a request which was granted by boss Mikel Arteta.
Nelson played a bit-part role last term, making much of his appearances off the bench, but he’s making his presence known to his manager, and helping our side to victory will not have gone unnoticed.
“I really wanted to take a penalty but I think I was 17 at the time and the boss didn’t let me take it, so I said to myself if I ever get the opportunity to take one again then I’ll be the first one and I’ll be confident and just pick a spot and pick it,” Nelson told Arsenal Digital.
“I got an opportunity, went to Mikel and said I’ll take it, then I was brave and he let me take it.
“It was a bit weird because the walk is so long, but as I got to the goal it seemed fairly big, so I thought let me just hit it, hit a spot and hope for the best. It went in! It’s a big confidence boost and to start a season like that is very big for all the young players. It’s amazing that we’ve got another trophy and now we need to keep it going throughout the season.
“For me it’s about getting myself in the starting XI. The boss has made a lot of changes and brought a lot of top players into the team and I feel like that can only help us, but I want to fight for my position, be hungry and get a spot in that starting XI.”
Nelson will not have an easy ride to earn a regular starting spot, with the likes of Willian, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah already battling for the two winger roles at present, although that could be helped if Mikel Arteta does change-up the formation to allow an extra player to play in behind the striker.
Nelson has played in the number 10 role previously, although Willian will likely be the favoured option initially, but with many fixtures to play out this term, with the right attitude he could well earn a regular place under Arteta.
Does Nelson have what it takes to challenge the more experienced players for a regular role this term?