Just 17 years old, Jeff Reine-Adelaide was the talk of the town in the summer.
His performance against VfL Wolfsburg at the Emirates Cup had everyone talking about him back in July, but he still hasn’t made his Arsenal debut. Regularly on the bench over the course of the past two months, it’s been a waiting game.
This Saturday, however, things may change as Arsenal welcome Sunderland in the third round of the FA Cup. First team members like Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey have been given time off this week, and Héctor Bellerín was in Amsterdam as late as Wednesday.
With Arsène Wenger set to rotate, Saturday could finally see Jeff make his debut for the club.
“I was lucky Arsenal came [in for me]. I could have been a Ligue 2 player in France. I’m so grateful to be here,” he told Arsenal.com this week.
His performance against Wolfsburg made him a big name, despite never playing a game for the club and not yet reaching 18, but he hasn’t allowed it to go to his head.
“The fans seemed to be happy too. In fact, everyone was happy for me, including the coach and that is important. Of course it was a strange feeling, the media talks only about superstars.
“I was very surprised but of course happy. My parents told me I have not done anything yet – they told me to keep my feet on the ground and that I should keep working hard.
“I think I need to improve every single day when I train, show that I’m focused and concentrating and show that I want to succeed. I need to show I will never give up, then, if one day I get my chance, it is my duty to show the coach to put his trust in me. Then I will fight to regularly be in the first team.”
Working hard is the secret, and he seems to be determined to make the most of his ability. An injury early on in the season left him sidelined, but he has now returned and is proving his worth.
On Tuesday he scored his first two goals for Arsenal u21s, and assisted another, right in front of Arsène Wenger. Now’s the time for the manager to put his faith in him.