Reiss Nelson says he’s aiming for a place in Unai Emery’s first team as he continues his development on loan at Hoffenheim.
The England under-21 international made an eye-catching start to life in Germany netting six times and grabbing an assist for Julian Nagelsmann’s side within a couple of months.
He set tongues wagging at the Emirates when he picked up the Bundesliga’s ‘Rookie of the Month’ award for October, however, since then, things have plateaued for the 20-year-old.
In total this season, he’s played 709 minutes – the equivalent of just under eight whole games – and earlier this year he was reportedly dropped for disciplinary reasons.
All in all, it’s been a learning experience. One that should stand him in good stead when he returns for pre-season at Arsenal.
Speaking to The Times [£], he said: “If I wasn’t aiming to break into the Arsenal first team, that wouldn’t be the correct mindset. I need to go there with that mindset of breaking into that team.”
Of his time on the Continent, he added: “For me it’s just about playing — getting the game time you need to prove to everyone you can play at that high level.
“I had to learn very quickly and adapt to the German language,” he says. “On my debut the ball went over the top and I just heard everyone shouting, ‘Weiter, weiter, weiter’.
“I didn’t know what they were talking about! I realised it meant, ‘Run, run, press, press’. That’s the intensity you want to play at. It can only make me better.”
Nelson also spoke warmly of former manager Arsene Wenger who handed him his debut last season.
“His main thing was [about] staying grounded,” says Nelson. “A lot of kids, when they get to 18 or 19, they start getting flashy and forgetting about the real basics of being a professional footballer. He has always said ‘be on that and you’ll go to the top.’”