Speaking after the game, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has revealed he is very pleased with Reiss Nelson’s development after the winger’s goal against Leeds United.
The winger has played a prominent role under Arteta so far, featuring in every single game under the new boss. And against Leeds in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday night, the England U21 international scored the decisive goal to send his side through.
After watching his performance, Arteta singled out the academy product for praise, and insisted he is “doing all the right things”.
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He said (as quoted by the club’s official website): “I am very pleased with him, how he’s training, how he’s reacting, how willing he is to learn. He’s asking the right questions, I know about his ability, I’ve known him since I was here and I coached him when he was 16. I know his potential and now he needs to put things away.
“I am really, really pleased with Reiss, I think he needed that goal as well for his confidence, I think he needs to improve his end-product a little bit in the final third, but he’s doing all the right things.”
It’s fair to say Nelson has made a very fine impression on Arteta in the couple of weeks the Spaniard has been in charge. Aside from his goal on Monday evening, Nelson won seven duels out of the 11 that he was involved in, and made three tackles too. His commitment to the cause and willingness to do the dirty work defensively, means he is doing everything that his head coach asked for in some of his initial press conferences where he demanded energy and passion.
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And being a winger, Nelson will be judged upon his contributions going forward, and he certainly made his presence felt in that respect too, completing all four of his attempted dribbles. Playing from the left and cutting on to his right foot means someone like Sead Kolasinac can fly past him on the overlap and really create an overload. If Nelson can improve his end-product as Arteta has urged for, then there is no reason why he cannot become a permanent fixture in this team.