Mikel Arteta says Reiss Nelson’s willingness to learn and his performances in training have led to things clicking for the winger in recent weeks.
A bright spark against Molde at the Emirates three weeks ago, the England under-21 international capped another impressive showing against the Norwegians with his first goal of the season as Arsenal won 3-0 to secure a place in the Europa League knockout stages.
Arguably the best player in his year group when he came through the club’s Academy, the winger was tipped to make a big impact on the Gunners first team when he returned from a loan spell at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
For various reasons, including untimely injuries, it didn’t really happen for him under Unai Emery but Arteta believes progress, thanks to hard work, is now being made.
“He’s made some big steps in the last month or so,” said Arteta when asked what Nelson needs to do to get a run in the side.
“He’s shown what he can do. Again, he’s another player that wants to take you on all the time, he’s very vertical, he’s a great player when he runs in behind and he’s very unpredictable.
“I really like these types of players to play in the wide positions. Defensively, there are things that he needs to do better and he will improve in that but he’s a much more mature player.
“He showed a great attitude, in my opinion, to say that he didn’t want to leave on loan because he belives that he’s got a chance to play for this football club. He’s showing that he wants to take that direction. He’s performing in the right way.”
Arteta went on to add: “We’re doing a lot of work with him, obviously. He’s so willing. He’s asking for more all the time. He wants individual meetings.
“He wants to work on the pitch in certain aspects in which we think he can improve. He’s training really really well, he’s developing as well. He had a click and we needed that click. Now it’s up to him but I must say that his last performances have been really good.”