The inside track on academy sensation Reiss Nelson, with Arsenal Youth expert Jorge Bird
Throughout the years Arsenal have been famed for their fantastic youth system be that the 60s, 70s or even 00s. The much heralded system has produced some of the legends of Arsenal be that Charlie George, Cesc Fabregas or even Tony Adams. A player grabbing many of the headlines this summer for Arsenal besides the many contract rebels and new signings is Arsenal academy product Reiss Nelson, who we highlighted here, back in March. In this article, I caught up with Arsenal Youth expert Jeorge Bird to find out more about the player who could be lighting up The Emirates next season.
Ok so Reiss Nelson, tell us a bit about him, how long you have known of him and what is the perception of him in the Arsenal academy?
I have known about Nelson for about three and a half years. I first heard of him when Lukas Podolski posted a video of him playing in a youth match.
Nelson has been at the Arsenal academy for nine years and has always been very highly rated within the club, often playing above his age group.
The club are eager to manage his development carefully, but he definitely has a very bright future ahead of him.
What kind of player do you think Nelson is? Where would he fit in the current system etc?
Nelson is a very skillful and direct player, although unfortunately I do not think Arsenal’s current formation brings the best out of him.
He is best suited to playing as either a winger or an attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
However, in the current system I think the best place for him would be in one of the two positions behind the striker, although there is a lot of competition for places there.
Finally are there any other hopefuls from the youth set up that are now stepping up to the senior team that we should look out for and why?
The players that have been involved with the first-team in pre-season – Bielik, Malen, Nketiah, Bramall and Willock – all have a good chance. I think Ben Sheaf, who has developed very well since his transformation into a centre-back, could also get some opportunities.
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.