Reiss Nelson is one of the most exciting prospects to come out of Arsenal’s academy in years.
After yet another Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain masterclass in performing poorly, Arsenal fans were quick to point out how much better the youngster is faring since the Ox left for Liverpool.
Minutes played in all competitions since Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool:
The Ox: 158
Reiss Nelson: 170 pic.twitter.com/JALR13zimo
— Curt (@Curt_goff) October 6, 2017
he's much better than Oxlade Chamberlain https://t.co/DRVcTkHE1U
— AFC Duffy (@DuffySkinner) September 24, 2017
So we thought we’d take a deeper look at the player who has got Arsenal fans on the edge of their seats.
The Emirates Cup has seen many young Arsenal talents introduce themselves to the fans.
Kieran Gibbs went off to a standing ovation when he played against Inter Milan in 2007, while Jack Wilshere wowed supports in successive tournaments between 2008 and 2010.
In the most recent addition, another teenager stepped-up and excited the crowd: Reiss Nelson.
Sitting in the crowd during that 5-2 win over Benfica, there was a sense of anticipation whenever Nelson got on the ball.
Playing as a right wing back, yet with all the freedom in the world, the 17-year-old was often too quick for his opposite number and provided a number of good deliveries into the box. One such ball in provided a goal; a cut back onto his left foot, followed by a pinpoint cross to Olivier Giroud that had the crowd on their feet.
That moment marked the significant progression Nelson had made.
The previous season, he was voted the club’s Young Player of the Year as he was prolific with the u18s and made the successful step-up to u23 level. By that point, he had already trained several times with the first team and impressing regular viewers of youth team football.
His good season was rewarded with a call-up to Arsenal’s tour squad that travelled to Australia and China, and it was there that made a claim to be in the first team squad for the season.
Nelson is an attacker by trade, able to play on either flank or behind the striker.
He has all the attributes required for a winger: pace and trickery to beat his man, and the ability to cross with both feet. More impressively, there’s variety to his play. He can go inside and out, and can produce all types of crosses.
He’s a player who gets fans on their feet, but there’s also substance to his flash.
His introduction to the first team life, though, has seen him play as a wing-back. His pace and ability to attack the byline make him effective there, but it’s a steep learning curve for him as he comes to grips with defending. Nelson very much sees himself as an attacker in the future, but Arsene Wenger seems to keen to round-out his game.
At youth level, he continues to score goals.
Six goals in six games for the u23s this season had fans calling for more first team involvement. He also continues to score at international level for England’s youth teams, having scored nine goals in 10 games for the u17s the previous season.
Nelson joined Arsenal when he was just six years old, having originally been scouted by Tottenham while playing for Moonshot in Catford.
As a boyhood Arsenal fan, he chose to play for the Gunners, and came up through the ranks. He bills himself as a family fan dead set on improving his game.
With any luck, he’ll remain humble and continue his development as an exciting player.