Arsenal may have had a poor opening to the season, however, there are early indications that in seasons to come the Gunners could have some top quality young players making a positive difference.
Arsenal’s match day squad for their 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup included six players who had come through the club’s academy system, and even though the clash with Rovers was a game of little consequence for a club of Arsenal’s size there could well be one or two who make it to the next level.
According to former Arsenal academy coach Thierry Henry, one such player who has all the necessary ingredients to make it as a top level professional is Reiss Nelson.
Writing in his column for The Sun, the legendary Arsenal striker was full of praise for the 17-year-old following his first start for the north Londoners on Wednesday night.
“At the Academy, he was training and playing with the Under-18s — and he was only 16. But he was so good that, after two or three months, we felt he was wasting his time.
“He was not learning anything because he was too good for that standard. So he was moved up to the Under-23s so he could work with stronger and bigger guys.
“This kid has all the talent to be knocking on the door of the first team.”
While Henry also went on to stress that the gap between academy and first team football is massive, this vote of confidence from one of the past greats of the club does at least indicate that the Gunners’ present need not be a barometer of how far they can go in the future should they be able to marry players of Nelson’s obvious talent with some big-name signings.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena