Gareth Southgate has warned Reiss Nelson not to expect immediate senior call-ups for England, despite five Bundesliga goals in six appearances.
Nelson has been in fantastic form for Hoffenheim so far this season. He also scored two goals for the England u21s, and he saw his close friend Jadon Sancho called up to the England first-team over the last international break. As a result, you’d expect the Arsenal man to be edging closer to a senior call-up of his own.
However, Southgate insists we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. He admits Nelson is doing well, but he adds that there’s a lot of competition with England’s young players at the moment.
“We really like Reiss,” Southgate said. “He came and trained with us in September. He is doing okay with Hoffenheim and we think that he and some other players in the Under-21s have got big futures.
“He always impressed me in the match time he got at Arsenal, he always had a really good impact whenever he played.
“I always liked his personality on the field and he is one of a number of attacking players who will push for places in the coming years, but he is not the only one and it is important we keep pushing him. I don’t want him to be thinking that he has just got to roll up and he’s the next one, because there is really good competition for places.
“Maddison and Mount won’t be there this time because of injury, but [Ryan] Sessegnon, [Demarai] Gray, [Dominic] Solanke and Phil Foden — you can go on.
“Then underneath that, you have got [Callum] Hudson-Odoi and Morgan Gibbs-White. There are some really exciting players coming through the system.”
In fairness to Southgate, he’s not wrong that England have a lot of exciting young talents at the moment. Not all of them are playing as regularly as Nelson right now, but most of them have been around the first team at their clubs for a while, despite their ages.
Hopefully, Nelson continuing to perform regularly for Hoffenheim will push him ahead of the others, as it has done for Sancho. It’s still very early days for the Arsenal 18-year-old right now though, so we’ll have to wait and see how the season goes. For now, he’ll join the England u21s again this month.