Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson has revealed that Robin van Persie often gives him advice regarding his development.
Nelson emerged on the scene back in the summer of 2017, starring for the Gunners during an Emirates Cup clash against Benfica. Legendary manager Arsene Wenger then introduced him into the first-team set-up during his final year with the club before a loan spell to Hoffenheim helped the youngster further develop.
However, his career with the Gunners stalled before Mikel Arteta decided to send him on loan to Dutch outfit Feyenoord last summer. The 22-year-old struggled for fitness during the first half of the season but he has begun to get more regular minutes in recent times, helping his side reach the UEFA Europa Conference League final, where they will take on Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma on Wednesday night.
Now, he has revealed that Feyenoord Under-16s coach van Persie, who also spent seven years with the north Londoners, has been giving him advice on how to improve. “Yeah, I speak with him,” Nelson told The Athletic when asked about the Dutchman.
“Sometimes he comes over on a Wednesday, before Europa Conference League games on a Thursday. I ask him about what positions I need to be getting in. Certain movements I need to be doing, certain finishes.
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“He’s amazing. He makes it so much simpler for you to understand. Sometimes the ball will come inside, and you go to smash it. He’s just like: ‘Look, make sure you get (good) contact, make sure your body is this way, make sure you just want to hit it into the corner.’
“He said Arsene Wenger put him on the wing to start and (he) didn’t like it, but someone got injured and he played up front. He was like: ‘Oh, I never played up front. Why do you want me to play up front (now)?’
“He said that he just started working on all these different movements, to be that extra bit sharper than a lot of the defenders. He just worked on it all the time, every day, and it took time, but then he really got the hang of it.
“It made him into the guy he is today. So he said: ‘Just keep going and keep persisting in everything you do and you can make it to that level.'”
Nelson will have just 12 months remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium this summer and it remains to be seen whether or not he can force his way back into Arteta’s plans, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli all enjoying solid seasons with the club.