Reiss Nelson says that he’ll have to work hard to earn a regular place in Unai Emery’s starting lineup but he’s up for the challenge and excited about what a new-look Arsenal can achieve this season.
In the absence of senior teammates who are still getting up to full fitness, the England under-21 international produced a composed performance in the opening weekend 1-0 win over Newcastle; his first start for the Gunners in 16 months.
Having been on loan at Hoffenheim for a year, the winger, who was this summer promoted to the first team, was pleased by the trust shown in him by the boss and is now hoping for more minutes by impressing in training.
“For me, I just want to take things as they come,” Nelson told the Evening Standard. “I went away in Germany and I think I did well. But the main goal for me has always been playing in an Arsenal shirt week in, week out.
“The boss told me on Wednesday I would be starting and to get mentally prepared. It was a great gesture from the boss and I’m just happy to be back playing in Arsenal colours.
“I need to be prepared all the time for whenever I get the call-up because I know it’s not guaranteed I’m going to be starting week in, week out with the team-mates we have.”
Nelson also spoke about the arrival of Nicolas Pepe who arrived from Lille for a club-record fee of £72 million. It looks as though the Ivorian will operate on the right side of attack with Nelson challenging Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the opposite flank. The club’s attacking options are a reason for excitement said the 19-year-old.
“We have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette. They are great stars and I’m still only young so I need to sit back and when I get my chance take it,” he said.
“He’s (Pepe) been such a great addition. We’re so happy to have him. He’s always scoring or creating goals, but off the ball he’s also working very hard for the team and as a striker that really helps people like me and everyone else alongside him.
“He’s settled in well and he looks a really good addition. We saw little glimpses on Sunday on the pitch and you could see he has the flair we need on the right-hand side. He can cut inside and shoot as well, so he’s a great addition.
“I think this season can be very exciting. We have all the new additions and that can only help us in the long run.”