Reiss Nelson – In Focus

By Jake Ross

When an English prodigy and the Bundesliga are mentioned together everyone would think of Jadon Sancho, yet Reiss Nelson has been causing German defenders more nightmares.

England has never seen a better production of youth players. The 2000’s ‘Golden generation’ is a thing of the past.

Having won the youth World Cups and European Championships at every age group in the last two years, this crop of players are truly special.

However there is one player that has snuck under the radar for some time for everyone bar Arsenal fans, Reiss Nelson.

Nelson started his career at a team called Moonshot FC at the age of nine-years-old when surprisingly Tottenham scouted him.

After three to four weeks at Arsenal’s biggest rivals the Gunners offered him a trial with an immediate intention to sign him.

Nelson has shone so far during his loan spell at TSG Hoffenheim. With only five starts to his name so far, Nelson has bagged five goals from only six shots on target, with four of them having opened the scoring.

The Arsenal loanee currently has a record of a goal every 63 minutes in the Bundesliga.

The 2017/18 Premier League U23 player of the season has become the third youngest player to score five times in the Bundesliga.

His incredible form in Germany will enthral Arsenal boss Unai Emery who will feel he has executed the perfect loan deal.

Having previously used the loan market atrociously, with Nelson, Arsenal could not have used the loan system any better.

In Hoffenheim and more acutely their manager, Julian Nagelsmann, Arsenal know from past experience the potential for young players to excel there.

In Nagelsmann Arsenal have a manager who they had proposed to succeed Arsene Wenger and is known for his development of youth players.

Former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry thrived under Nagelsmann which was shown when Bayern Munich knocked down Arsenal’s door to sign the German.

The 18-year-old credits his ever-growing career to his older brother, telling Arsenal Media: “He sacrificed so much to get me to where I am today.

“Do you know any 18-year-olds who would give up their social lives to help their younger brother achieve his dream? I do: my older brother.

“Getting me to late kick-offs, early kick-offs, making sure I went for jogs, keeping me grounded – my brother was dedicated to helping me become the professional I am now.”

Nelson revealed how his friend Sancho inspired his move to Germany.

He told the Daily Mail: “Jadon knows I like one against ones, he knows I’m a fast player and said there were a lot of those opportunities. He said I should go over there and that’s how I can show my brilliance.”

Off the pitch, Nelson is a big family man.

He told Arsenal Media: “My brother has a son now, so I look after him as well as my other young relatives, just trying to do what my brother showed me by being a role model and taking care of the family.”

By the end of the season if Nelson continues his form, with Gareth Southgate’s squad selection he may follow Sancho’s footsteps in gaining an England first-team call up.

The winger eyes teammate Alex Iwobi as an inspiration as someone who came through the whole Arsenal set up and into the starting eleven.

From Hale End to London Colney, Nelson has followed the Nigerian’s steps into the first team and has been touted as the best player to come out of Hale End since Jack Wilshere.

On his return to Arsenal it will be Iwobi’s starting place which Nelson will be challenging for.

One thing is for certain, game by game Nelson is changing potential into ability; ability which should keep Arsenal and England fans on the edge of their seats.

Edited by Alex Robertson and Jacob Panons

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