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 concentrating"
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.”
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