Mikel Arteta says that Reiss Nelson’s prodigious talent at youth levels contributed a period in his career when he became ‘confused’, but insists the 20 year old has the potential to become a first team regular at Arsenal.
Having spent time with him when he was a youngster at the club, the manager knows what he’s capable of, and believes he’s now ready to kick on and show that he can make the next step.
Nelson spent last season on loan at Hoffenheim, and while he did well in the beginning, there was no question of him being indulged there. However, since Arteta’s arrival he’s played a part in every game, an illustration of how the new boss views him.
“I know Reiss because I coached him when he was 16 and straightaway he caught my eye,” said Arteta.
“He is a boy that is willing to learn and loves the game but I think he has been a little bit confused in the last few years – what direction he had to take, some of the decisions that he made.
“Now I can see he really wants it and I think he has the potential to do whatever he wants.
“He needs guidance, he needs a little bit of a stick and he’s up for it. I put him in to play and I trust him, because he wants it and I think he can deliver.”
At youth levels, Arteta said Nelson was ‘that good when he was young that everything was a bit too easy for him’, but he’s now demanding more from him.
“If he wants to do it, wants to learn and wants to challenge himself he can be a top, top player for this football club,” he said.
“At the moment I think he is on the right path, with the right attitude and then there are a lot of factors, he needs to deal with pressure, deliver every three days, score more goals and make the difference more for the team because he has the quality to do that.”
Tomorrow against Sheffield United would be a good place to start.