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Arteta backs "special talent" Nelson to shine

Reiss Nelson

Mikel Arteta believes Reiss Nelson can reach “the next level”, having been impressed with his progress over the past 12 months.

The 22-year-old winger spent last season on loan at Feyenoord, gaining valuable experience in the Eredivise and the Europa Conference League before returning to London Colney this summer looking to shine back in our colours.

A muscle injury ruled him out of the opening two months, but now fit again and with potential opportunities to play regularly coming in the form of five Europa League games across the next five weeks, Arteta is hopeful Reiss’ talent comes to the fore.

“After the spell that he had last year on loan, we wanted him back to see if there are any changes, and there’s a prospect that we can really take to the next level,” Arteta said. “We think the potential is there and we think we’ve seen something in Reiss that is special. 

“He’s been a part of our academy system and now he’s going to have an opportunity. He’s been out for almost three months with an injury, he’s back now, he’s fully fit and he’s ready to play. He just needs minutes now.

“His attitude and the way he’s matured and evolved over the past year or so has been really impressive, I think everybody is talking about it and now he needs to do it on the pitch.”

Nelson’s return is a welcome boost for the boss, at a time when he is looking for all members of our squad to impress as we juggle the demands of domestic and European football during a packed fixture list in October especially.

“It’s a test for the squad in terms of the numbers and the quality that you have when you make changes, and how much you notice that,” he added. “At the same time, it’s about how you are able to consistently play at the highest level and demand that of yourself and be successful doing it. 

“It’s not something that we did last season and it’s something we will have to do this year for different reasons, but I think everybody is going to have to be able to do that after the World Cup, especially with the scheduling that we have.”

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