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Reiss Nelson says he’s grateful for the chance to play alongside Arsenal’s first team stars but knows he must up his game, including defensively, if he’s to nail down a regular starting berth in the coming seasons.
The 17-year-old caught the eye during the Gunners pre-season tour of Australia and China and has since been given the chance to shine in the right wing-back position in Europa League and Carabao Cup matches.
Talking to the Arsenal Weekly Podcast about his swift rise to prominence, Nelson drew attention to the warm welcome he’s had from the club’s senior players and also the areas of his game that he needs to develop.
“All the coaches at Arsenal have helped me a lot, even from my early days at Hale End as well. It was different to come from Hale End to London Colney. The culture at London Colney is so much different because we have a load of world-class first-team players around.
“Alex Iwobi has really helped me and is always making jokes to see if I’m OK. Lacazette is a nice guy as well, Ozil, Hector as well. All of the boys there are great and have really taken me in as a person and a footballer as well.
“I’m pushing to be a first-team player, so everything has come so fast and I’m very grateful. I want to push on, keep pushing and then hopefully I get a first-team spot in the next few years.
“I’ve spoken to the boss a lot and he’s said for this early stage it’s about development because I’m still young. I need to get to grips with defending and then hopefully when I’m older and more mature, I can move further up the field and show everyone what I’ve got.
“I’ve got to give my all, 100 per cent, and my family are really important in helping me do that. I’m always trying to better myself and improve, so it’s just adding the little things and the finishing touches.”
Nelson is expected to start against Red Star Belgrade as the Gunners go in search of the single point that will secure safe passage to the knockout rounds of the Europa League.