Hale End graduate winger Reiss Nelson has spoken about his delight at signing a new long-term contract with the club he has been at from the age of eight.
Now 23, the exciting and skilful forward made his debut at the age of 17 back in 2017, and since played more than 60 times for the first team. But now he says he wants to take his game ‘to the next level’ after recommitting his future to his boyhood club.
“I'm kind of lost for words If I’m honest,” Reiss said shortly after putting pen to paper. “I've been here since I was eight, I'm 23 now. It's been a hell of a journey, and I'm just so happy. My family are Arsenal supporters, so that makes it even happier. I'm just really happy and I can't wait to get started for the new season.”
Discussing the reasons behind his decision, he added: “It's just the way we played last season. I've been here for many years, I've been here the good years and bad years, and last year especially, I've seen the rise that Arsenal have taken. Taking them to new heights and I feel like I want to be part of the journey.
“I want to be part of us going to the next level, which I think the boss, Edu, the backroom staff and the new players and the current players are making. So it was a train I really didn't want to miss and I want to be here for it, so I'm glad that I made the right decision.
“[Mikel Arteta] told me he's seen a massive change in me and he feels like I'm at the next level and it feels like there's so many more different levels that I can go to.
“So that was the conversation I had with him. And for me, I want to prove to him, prove to everyone around, how many levels I can actually go to and that's what we spoke about.”
Reiss also reflected on his performances last season, which included a vital brace in the home win over Nottingham Forest as well as a memorable last-gasp winner against Bournemouth, that was later voted as our Goal of the Season.
But it was a campaign in which he had to be patient as well, dealing with two injuries, and his main aim for next season is to remain fit throughout the year.
“There's ups and downs in football,” he said,” and especially in my young career, I’ve felt that quite a lot, especially with injuries.
“I had two massive injuries last season that kept me out for a number of games, probably around up to 17 games, which is crazy when you think about it.
“When I did get the time or the opportunity to showcase myself, I needed to take it and I was waiting a long, long time, but I felt like there were moments in the last season that I did that.
“Like I said, I was just delighted to get the opportunity and for me, it's just about how many more steps can I take to keep pushing and keep making it hard for the boss to make a decision for the starting eleven.”
You can click on the video above to watch the full interview with Reiss.
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