Praise for England youth Reiss Nelson as he lights up the Bundesliga
‘He knows no fear with the ball at his feet’: German press heap praise on Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson as he shines in the Bundesliga… just like friend Jadon Sancho
- Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson is on loan at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga
- He was a key player and scored two goals in a comeback victory this weekend
- German press is heaping praise on him and fellow countryman Jadon Sancho
Anything Jadon Sancho can do, it turns out, Reiss Nelson can do too.
While Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga at Borussia Dortmund in recent weeks, another 18-year-old Englishman has been making a name for himself 300 miles down the road at Hoffenheim. And after this weekend, it is safe to say that Reiss Nelson has arrived.
With four goals in four league games, the young winger on loan from Arsenal has enjoyed an explosive start to life at Hoffenheim. On Saturday, he crowned his arrival with two marvellous goals, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win at Nuremberg.
Reiss Nelson, the Arsenal youngster on loan at Hoffenheim, is lighting up the Bundesliga
The England U21 player has scored four goals in his four appearances for the club in the league
Fellow young Englishman Jadon Sancho is also performing well for Borussia Dortmund
REISS NELSON STATS THIS SEASON
Bundesliga for Hoffenheim:
Apps: 4 – two starts, two as a sub
Apps: 1 (sub)
His performance earned him gushing praise from the German media, who are increasingly enamoured of the Bundesliga’s English youngsters.
‘If he carries on like this, then the young, talented officer will soon turn out to be a footballing Admiral Nelson,’ wrote Die Welt.
Watson, meanwhile, claimed that Nelson was sending the Bundesliga into ‘rapture’, while the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung marvelled that the youngster ‘knows no fear with the ball at his feet’. Nelson himself was more reserved in his reaction.
‘I don’t think I was the match winner,’ he said. ‘But I’m obviously happy that I managed to score twice in this important game.’
It certainly was important, breaking a string of three defeats which stretched back into September for Hoffenheim, and setting them up perfectly for a crucial Champions League clash with Lyon on Tuesday.
Champions League experience and regular game time at a high level are, by his own admission, the key reasons for Nelson’s decision to move to Germany. With no buyout option built into the loan deal, he will return to Arsenal in the summer, having hopefully had a chance to develop his game under young Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Nagelsmann, who described Nelson as ‘a player who can do everything’ when he signed him, has since been conscious not to heap the pressure on his young English star.
Nelson scored two goals and was a key player in a comeback victory over Nuremburg recently
Young Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann (L) said it’s important Nelson maintains his form
‘Four goals in four games is a reasonable rate of return and, as a young player, it’s important that he consolidates that form,’ said Nagelsmann on Saturday.
In Nuremberg, Nagelsmann’s instructions to Nelson were simple: get in the box and use the space you find there. The Arsenal loanee did so with aplomb.
‘Nagelsmann puts his faith in young players, and I think it’s important to join a team that is going to have confidence in you,’ said Nelson upon joining Hoffenheim. ‘For me, he was one of the main reasons why I moved here.’
Another, of course, was Jadon Sancho himself. Having played alongside each other in the England youth setup, the two wingers’ relationship goes beyond just a similar taste in haircuts. They are good friends and it was on Sancho’s advice that Nelson headed to Hoffenheim.
‘We’ve got a lot of similarities so Jadon said I should go over there and that’s how I can show my brilliance,’ said Nelson earlier this season. ‘He knows I like one-on-ones, he knows I’m a fast player and said there were a lot of those opportunities.’
For both Sancho and Nelson, their pace and strength in one-on-one situations have helped them enormously at teams that break quickly such as Dortmund and Hoffenheim.
Yet, like other English players in the Bundesliga, they have also had to adjust to a more systematic approach to pressing and hone their tactical and defensive skills. Unlike some, both players are adjusting well to those challenges, and also settling in nicely to life in Germany.
There’s no buyout clause in the loan deal, so Nelson will be returning to Arsenal in the summer
Others have bemoaned problems such as language barriers and and missing home cooking, but Nelson and Sancho are having less trouble. While Sancho lives with his dad and has developed a penchant for schnitzel, Nelson has brought his entire family over and can still enjoy his mum’s cooking.
‘I’ve a really tight family,’ he told Sportsmail last week. ‘We’re taking life as it is in England – my mum, my sister and my brother.’
‘We all made that decision together and they thought it best to come over and help me during my time over there. It’s helped me, 100 percent. My mum’s cooking has been great!’
The basics, in other words, are covered. Much like his friend Sancho, Nelson now has everything he needs to deliver on the pitch, both in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League.
While Sancho grabbed an assist against Monaco earlier this month, Nelson is yet to make an impact on the biggest European stage. He will hope to change that on Tuesday, and prove again that anything his buddy at Borussia can do, he can do too.
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