Discussion in 'Arsenal Talk' started by razörist, Aug 9, 2019.
Salah Joined Basel in the year 2012 aged 20 and joined Chelsea 2 years later.
Did Wenger rate Walcott as a footballer or a an effective piece of the jigsaw? Signed cheap, over 100 goals, better goals per min than Hazard.
Only 10 players in the history of the club have scored more goals.
Walcott deserves all the respect he gets.
Totally agree, besides, many of the the past's best have said he's been one of/the hardest players they have ever faced, just due to his incredible pace and threat on the counters.
Nah Emery avoided a Gnabry 2.0. Should thank the man in a year.
Here you go
Spoiler: Nelson Athletic Piece
Arsène Wenger thought that Reiss Nelson was one of the best 15-year-olds he had ever seen, although he had been wowing people from long before that.
The story of Nelson’s career up until now has been a story of supreme natural talent, total dedication to honing his skills and, more often than not, distant superiority over everyone he plays against. It was like that when a very young Nelson played on the estate with his friends, or in the park, when he led his borough to success, or later on his school. And it was like that when he joined the Arsenal academy at seven and started racing through it, always the best player in his age group, and often the best in the year-group ahead too.
His teenage years have gone by in a blur of brilliance. And the appointment of Mikel Arteta as manager could be the making of Nelson as a senior professional. This was always going to be a crucial season for Nelson. He returned to the club in the summer after a loan spell in Germany. Crystal Palace were desperate to sign him, while Bournemouth and Norwich wanted him on loan too. Arsenal could have made £20 million by selling, but Unai Emery wanted him to stay and prove himself. Alex Iwobi, four years older than Nelson and ahead of him in the line, went instead. Nelson started the first two games under Unai Emery before drifting out of the side.
But since Arteta’s appointment he has started four games out of five and on Monday night he was Arsenal’s best player, scoring the winner in the 1-0 FA Cup win over Leeds United. He is playing the best football of his fledgling career, looking like a player ready to take the chance he has been handed.
It is impossible to tell the story of Nelson without also telling the story of Jadon Sancho. The two are best friends and have been since their childhoods playing together in Burgess Park in south east London. Sancho was from Kennington, Nelson from neighbouring Walworth’s Aylesbury Estate. He grew up in the Missenden block there and from the age of three he was out with a football whenever he got the chance. By eight he was training with Arsenal, after they saw him playing for Moonshot in Catford. And everyone remembers the impression when they first saw him play.
Sayce Holmes-Lewis was one of three men working for Southwark Council as community sport coaches, running the borough’s teams at the London Youth Games. They ran trials in Burgess Park for local children who wanted to be part of their team.
“We first came across Reiss when he was eight,” Holmes-Lewis tells The Athletic. “That very moment we saw him, we were in awe. He was just phenomenal for a young player. He was outrageous. He was ahead of everything that we’d seen.
“In the same team was Jadon but, at that time, Reiss was the main man in that age group. His ball control. Playing at a tempo beyond his years. His technique and his skill were just outrageous. We asked him who he played for. ‘Oh, I just play for Arsenal,’ and we just all started laughing. He was so blasé and humble about it all.”
Not for the last time, Nelson instantly transformed the prospects of his team. He would come along for training on the astroturf every Thursday evening. And when he was in Year Six (aged 10-11), Southwark ran out as London Youth Games winners with Nelson the top scorer.
Ahmet Akdag worked alongside Holmes-Lewis and Cedric Kabongo as a coach of Southwark’s team. “When Reiss came down, he was just unbelievable,” says Akdag, who now runs the Cre8 Academy. “He was just magic in terms of having the ball at his feet, his quick thinking, his composure and intelligence for such a young age. He would just glide past players, know when to stop the ball, how to change pace, and change direction again. You were lucky to have someone of that calibre playing for you.”
Being that gifted is only the part of the story. The other side was the dedication to becoming the best player he possibly could be. Not just in the sense of self-improvement but also the discipline to stay focused on his career, growing up in such a difficult environment.
“Obviously it wasn’t without temptations, of getting into the whole negative lifestyle,” says Holmes-Lewis, who now runs a mentoring organisation called Mentivity. “But with him, it was always just football. He was never around the wrong people, he just kept people that were focused on football and progression around him.
“And it was a pleasure just to coach him. If things didn’t go well, he would have this little strop, but then he would channel it into his game. That is what I love. A lot of players, especially from this area, they would let their emotions get the better of them. But he was always responsive. I loved his whole aura and the way he was, always positive, always trying to build people up.”
The nature of being an academy star at a big club is that you become famous long before you make it as a professional. Nelson has been well-known in London football circles for so long that he already feels like an established name, even though his senior career is in its infancy. He has always conducted himself with that clear sense of responsibility for his community and for the next generation after him.
Nelson was proud of playing for his school, London Nautical, and would often play for them rather than going on day release to the Arsenal Academy. And it was worth it: Nelson’s team won their London Cup every year. “Reiss would play for school instead of going training with Arsenal,” explains Neil Atherton, assistant head at the school. “Our boys do, we don’t put any pressure on them. Our kids don’t go on day release if they’ve got a game. That’s their choice. They like playing with their friends.”
The school have a great relationship with Arsenal’s head of education Matt Henly, who would encourage it. “The academies are so supportive of the boys,” Atherton says, “they want to them to still play for school, still play with their friends.”
Even now, some time after leaving, Nelson is still a hero to the boys at that school. He was a mentor to Vontae Daley-Campbell, who followed him to Arsenal and has recently joined Leicester. There are two more Arsenal academy youngsters at the school now, Malcolm Ebiowei and Brooke Norton-Cuffy, whom Nelson has kept a close eye on. “He was very good with Vontae and very good with the two boys there now,” Atherton says. “He’s a really good influence, Reiss. He’s nice, he’s got his head screwed on. And he’s very similar to those boys. There’s so much pressure, but he was what they are now.”
Life has moved fast for Nelson since he signed his first professional deal at Arsenal in December 2016. He was able to give up his Smart car after being teased by older team-mates about it and move his family out of Walworth to a house in Cockfosters, near the training ground. Holmes-Lewis remembers giving Nelson a lift to south London’s Denmark Hill station just after he had signed that first professional contract, seeing how thrilled the 17-year-old Nelson was at being able to change the prospects for his family. “Look, your feet did this,” he told Nelson. “I told you that those feet and your mindset were going to get you there.”
By 2017-18, Nelson was starting games for Arsenal, primarily as a wing back in the Europa League campaign that marked Wenger’s final season. He needed more experience of men’s football, rather than just continually being the best player in the under-23s. His great friend Sancho had gone from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund to prove himself, so in August 2018 he followed him to the Bundesliga by joining Hoffenheim on loan. Working under Julian Nagelsmann, he showed off how dangerous he could be, producing some moments of magic from the wing and finishing the season with seven goals.
Nelson came back from Germany having learned more about team shape, pressing and how to play out of possession than he ever had before, the areas that Arteta is now working him on (as explained in Michael Cox’s analysis here).
There have been a few very talented youngsters at Arsenal in recent years with a profile similar to Nelson. Talents who needed structure and guidance to make the most of their talent on the ball, and had to leave to fulfill their potential. Just look at Serge Gnabry, now starting for Bayern Munich. Or Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who moved from Angers to Lyon this summer for £23 million.
Those two, like plenty of the club’s best young players of the last generation, got to the Arsenal first team and then realised that there was not quite as much backing or instruction from Wenger as they were expecting. His detached, almost hands-off approach left their best youngsters wishing for more detailed guidance, which is why Arsenal teams of the late Wenger era were so dominated by senior players who did not need as much help.
Arteta was one of those senior players and he remembers Nelson training with the first-team during his final season as a player. Arteta gave him some coaching tips then, and now, four years on, he is his manager. In his first few games, Arteta used Nelson wide on the right of his 4-2-3-1, stretching the play, creating space for Mesut Özil in the middle. After that first game at Bournemouth, when Arteta put his arm round Nelson’s shoulder and talked him through his game, it was impossible not to think of Pep Guardiola, his intensive coaching of Raheem Sterling, and how he has turned a talented young winger into one of the best forwards in the world.
On Monday night Nelson was out on the left, driving Arsenal forward on the counter-attack, darting inside to score the game’s only goal in the second half. Afterwards, Arteta praised Nelson’s attitude in training, his willingness to learn and to ask the right questions, to make the most of his obvious talent.
Now Nelson will get the guidance he always needed, and the chance to fight to hold on to his place. His mate Sancho has shown at Dortmund that being brilliant at the game is one thing, but understanding your role in the team is what makes you a player that people can count on.
Do that, and Nelson will get to where he has always been aiming for.
Interesting stuff about young talent missing guidance from Wenger.
thats a 10/10 read, I cant recommend it enough
If Nelson ever finds his feet he will be on level with Sancho/hudson odoi imo, hopefully Arteta can bring it out of him.
He doesn't deserve a starting spot ahead of any of Pepe, Martinelli or Saka based on what he's shown/is showing. I haven't even factored in PEA on the wing.
He could become a top player for us, but am not seeing it yet. He could be a Fran Merida (over hyped), Jack Wilshere (high level Prem standard) or Ashley Cole (world elite). Time will tell.
If Arteta think Nelson deserve to start do to his effort in training(which noone on this forum has clue about) then I trust Arteta!
It hasn't been working for Nelson yet but game time and manager putting massive trust in him is exactly what he needs now! If it doesn't work then it is shame but we are never gonna reach Nelson true potential or even getting close unless he has complete faith and trust from the manager and gets game time according to that!
Rich. A people slagging of Nico Pepe for being lazy on training now tells others we dont have a clue what's going on during training.
Thought he was quite good against Leeds. Still a little timid when he gets around the box and sometimes in some challenges but no denying his technique is quite good. Really pleased he got a goal and a winner.
When Nelson starts getting comfortable in the league and in the first team he'll be one of the best players in our squad. His workrate, technique and understanding of the game along with his goalscoring ability will really shine through as soon as he starts believing in himself as he did for the U23's and reserves.
With him, Martinelli, Pepe and hopefully Smith-Rowe and Willock our future looks bright. I also think Nketiah will be a good player for us.
It's gonna take some time for a lot of those guys to get it together but I firmly believe that when they do, we'll surprise a lot of people, including our own fans that don't believe in Hale End. I'm anxious to see this unfold properly.
I'm really excited to see how they turn out. The big problem for us earlier with our youngsters was ironically Wenger maybe giving them too much freedom and liberty which made them soft and complacent.
With Arteta it seems like that winner mentality is going to be bred through and through. And attitude and hard work beats talent 9/10 times. With our Hale End kids all having good technique and passing ability the basis is there for some really good players.
Football managers aren't always correct, bro. What a strange thing to say.
Arteta possibly coud be the right man at the right time IMO. He knows a few of these guys already, knows their strengths, and while I don't want to jump the gun, he seems to have the necessary qualities as a head coach to bring out the best in these young talents. Raul seems to be taking the youth policy somewhat seriously by clearing the way forward for the likes of Nelson, Martinelli and Saka which also helps us. I've long believed we're on the cusp of something big with Hale End, there's a few more potentially on the way with massive potential but let's deal with the here and now. As long as we supplement the squad with the right buys and the current Hale Enders in the first team continue to develop and reach their potential, I feel we can start to build a platform to compete.
Huh? I just said people who have seen him rate him. I didn't predict a Balloon D'Or coming his way...
No one mentioned a ballon d'or, not sure why you're deflecting.
Isn’t Nelson’s strength is supposed to be dribbling?
For the praise he received I thought he should be half as skillful as Saint Maximin.
Will he be a good squad player? Yes
Should we have taken the 20mil? yes
He may be a good player but at whose expense will he be starting?
Pepe, martinelli, saka are all a couple of levels above him.
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