By Lloyd Webb
Jeff Reine-Adelaide has revealed his journey from schoolboy football in France to the Arsenal first team.
The midfielder was spotted by Lens as a youngster playing in a local tournament, and then caught the eye of Gunners scouts.
Reine-Adelaide moved to north London last summer and has impressed for the under-21s - recently scoring twice in a 3-2 win against Blackburn.
I think I need to improve every single day when I train, show that I’m focused and concentratingJeff Reine-Adelaide
The 17-year-old is pleased with his progress and is “grateful” for how his career has panned out so far.
“Lens had followed me for a while,” Reine-Adelaide told Arsenal Player. "They came to supervise me in a district tournament where I was voted best player on the pitch.
"They came to my house to discuss things with my parents. Everything went really quick [after that]. Lens were in Ligue 1 and had a bit of a financial problem. They didn’t have enough players to be competitive.
“We were in the bottom three for most of the season and didn’t manage to save the club from relegation. I was lucky Arsenal came [in for me]. I could have been a Ligue 2 player in France. I’m so grateful to be here."
Reine-Adelaide claimed an assist on his first Arsenal appearance - the Emirates Cup victory over Wolsfburg - but accepts he must continue to work hard to establish himself in the first team.
“I was happy - very happy actually,” he said. “The fans seemed to be happy too. In fact, everyone was happy for me, including the coach and that is important. Of course it was a strange feeling, the media talks only about superstars.
“I was very surprised but of course happy. My parents told me I have not done anything yet - they told me to keep my feet on the ground and that I should keep working hard.
“I think I need to improve every single day when I train, show that I’m focused and concentrating and show that I want to succeed. I need to show I will never give up, then, if one day I get my chance, it is my duty to show the coach to put his trust in me. Then I will fight to regularly be in the first team.”Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source