Reiss Nelson says he was lacking confidence when he made his first appearances for the Arsenal first team last season, but he’s hoping his loan spell in Germany will rectify that.
The England under-21 international has taken the Bundesliga by storm since joining Hoffenheim on loan in August, scoring six goals and grabbing an assist in 11 appearances.
Having committed his long-term future to the Gunners before joining up with Julian Nagelsmann, the youngster says he has his sights set on achieving legendary status when he returns to the Emirates.
“Arsenal are my boyhood club,” he told the BBC. “I’ve been with them since I was eight, so that’s 10 years.
“I just want to go back there stronger because at the time I was at Arsenal I was 16, 17 and I didn’t feel confident.
“I didn’t think I was a man, but now I’m feeling stronger and I think a couple more months or even a year in Hoffenheim will make me strong and give me the belief and confidence to go back to Arsenal and do very good there.
“I want to be an Arsenal legend. And, for England, it’s the best. You can’t beat playing for your country I don’t think.”
Nelson made 16 appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side last campaign, but, unlike fellow Academy graduate Eddie Nketiah who grabbed a brace on his debut, he struggled to make a game-changing impact.
That came in stark contrast to his influence at under-23 level where he led the Gunners to Premier League 2 glory and was named the division’s best player.
Given the boost Nelson has enjoyed to his confidence and profile in recent months, he’s understandably supportive of other aspiring players joining him on the continent.
“I know a lot of the top [young] players in England as well and they’re always saying, ‘How is life in Germany, how is the Bundesliga?’ and I’m just saying, ‘It’s great’.
“They believe in young players and that’s the main thing. Getting the belief behind you to play football.
“It might no be so good for England if they [young players] all leave, but on a personal level, I think it will be great for young players to get playing time and show everyone what they can do.”
You can watch and read the BBC’s full interview with Nelson and his close pal Jadon Sancho, who is at Borussia Dortmund, here.