There is an exciting burst of youth development amongst English clubs at the moment. Especially after recently winning the 2017 Fifa under 17’s and under 20’s World Cups with England. Players such as Phil Foden for Manchester City and Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund have really burst into the public and look to be future world-class players. With that in mind, English football fans are keeping a sharp eye out for the next talent to come through. Reiss Nelson plays for Arsenal U23’s and just might be a player who fits that bill. But not for Arsenal, because Reiss Nelson is on loan at Hoffenheim making his name in the Bundesliga.
After joining Hoffenheim on loan for the season, Nelson’s market value has soared from £360,000 to £15 million. Conversely, other sources value him at around £7 million, however, it’s fair to say he has made a massive impact either way. Predominantly a right winger, Nelson can switch wings as well as play in a central attacking midfield role. He can even play as a centre forward. Though, he is best suited to the wing by having a very high ball control competence which enables him to weave in and out of players. To illustrate this, the picture below shows how easily he can dazzle defenders with his dribbling skills to create panic in dangerous areas and create chances.
Nelson also has physical robustness about him, which enables him to stay on two feet when heavy challenges are coming in. This combined with lightning pace seems to put teams on the back foot once he attacks down a wing.
The heat map shows Nelson prefers the right side of the field but does get across to the left side. He often runs the ball down the wing then cuts in at the corner edge of the box. From there he will look for opportunities like someone in a shooting position or a shot on goal himself. And what a shot he has. He can hit it straight and hard or can ‘bend it like Beckham’ around walls and into nets.
To try and measure Nelson’s talent, it would be beneficial to compare him to his peers. Two U17 world cup winners, Phil Foden and Ryan Sessengon
As you can see Sessegnon trumps the statistics but has had a great deal more time on the pitch. Having said that, even after playing 921 minutes less than Sessegnon, Nelson’s statistics aren’t too far behind. Nelson has bagged six goals in just five full games with 10 substitute appearances which is remarkable. He is rarely caught offside and averages a shot per game as well as a key pass. Nelson makes a great impact player by coming off the bench and adding to Hoffenheim’s attacking intentions. It’s no wonder that Gareth Southgate is keeping a keen eye on him.
There is no doubt that Reiss Nelson has superb talent. He is already winning over Hoffenheim hearts with his silky dribbling and ‘take on’ attitude. But is it enough to warrant a return back to the Gunners first team? I’m not sure. Even with Aaron Ramsey’s departure, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has started to become a regular on the Arsenal right flank. But, there is a ‘no option to buy’ in his loan contract so he will be in the Arsenal squad next summer. All in all, it will be a pleasure to see the talented young winger progress. Watch this space everyone.
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