Following his loan move to Rangers, Gedion Zelalem has spoken about the hype surrounding his name and what he wants to achieve during his time with the Scottish Championship side.
The 18-year-old has joined Rangers until January and while he’s there, he’s confident that he’ll live up to his reputation and gain the experience he needs.
“The tag of being an Arsenal player comes with it and I expect that of myself as well, I know I will be able to break into the first team because I have that confidence,” he said.
“So other people might expect things from me but within myself I expect it too. Being likened to great players is flattering, who doesn’t want to be compared to Pirlo?”
Zelalem was eager to clarify that although he believes in his own ability, he recognises that he does need work.
“But I still have a long way to go to be at the same level as those players and I think I will reach that level but it will be a lot of work in training and in games,” the midfielder continued.
“One of the reasons I came here is that it will replicate Arsenal where they have 60,000 and that pressure to win every week and it’s exactly the same here at Rangers.”
The youngster still has his heart set on being successful at Arsenal, saying, “It is a good opportunity to play first team football and Arsenal were very happy to send me here and I trust them so I decided to come here.
“My aims with Rangers are to get back to the top league and lift a cup and also play well so I can go back to Arsenal as a first team player.
Zelalem added, “Every loan player who comes along wants to do well and try and go back to their club and get game time.”
The midfielder also reckons that Rangers will not only benefit him in terms of playing time, but, according to him, they play a similar style of football to the Gunners.
“We play similar football here to Arsenal so it’s been easy to settle in in that sense and adapt really quickly,” he explained.
“Both teams play out from the back and along the ground, we don’t just kick the ball, we really try and be patient in possession and we have possession most of the time in the league so it will suit me to get on the ball, create chances and score goals.
“Technically a lot of the players could play in the top league in England so I’ve been very impressed with the football I’ve seen since I arrived.
“Going to Queen of the South on Sunday is a good challenge for us and in America I grew up playing on astroturf so it doesn’t really bother me.”
Wenger recently spoke about the need to loan out players while they’re young in order to make them feel like they’re progressing in their career.
In Zelalem’s case, he’s still incredibly young and has all the time in the world to develop either at Arsenal or out on loan, but the experience of being in such a physical league will be invaluable.