Mesut Özil gave some advice to Arsenal’s young players stepping up this season, including Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson, telling them to believe in themselves.
Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock have pushed their way into Unai Emery’s plans this season, after strong performances over the summer.
The two academy youngsters got a goal each during pre-season, and Willock was arguably one of Arsenal’s best performers even including the senior stars.
As a result, Willock leapfrogged a couple of midfield alternatives into the first eleven when the competitive matches got underway, whilst Nelson got a couple of starts ahead of Henrikh Mkhitaryan vs Burnley and the not-yet-fully-fit Nicolas Pepe vs Newcastle.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Mesut Özil told the duo to ignore voices from outside and just keep focusing on themselves and enjoying their football.
“The most important thing is to believe in yourself,” Özil said. “Of course you have some days when it doesn’t go so well, but you have to believe in yourself, keep working and the most important thing is to have fun.
“If you don’t have fun, if you are losing and you make mistakes you will be disappointed. But don’t listen to anyone, you know how good you are, believe in yourself and have fun.”
It will be interesting to see if Unai Emery keeps faith with the duo for Arsenal’s trip to Anfield.
Nicolas Pepe got 45 minutes under his belt against Burnley, so he’ll be pushing for a start, whilst Willock has Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Özil, Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi for competition.
On form, Willock can match any of them right now, but it’s possible his relative inexperience will count against him for this kind of fixture.