Premier League • England

Reiss Nelson ‘desperate’ to earn Arsenal belonging, as Wright emphasises rewards of attacker ignoring common belief

Reiss Nelson celebrating scoring for Arsenal

Ian Wright has hailed Reiss Nelson for taking a significant step towards realising his ambition of proving himself at Arsenal.

Nelson came on as a substitute for Arsenal in their match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday. His introduction was an early one, since he had to replace the injured Bukayo Saka in the 27th minute. At the time, the score was 1-0 to Mikel Arteta’s side.

In the end, they earned a 5-0 win – and Nelson played a direct part in all but one of the remaining goals.

The winger scored in the 49th and 52nd minutes, before setting up a goal for Thomas Partey in the 57th.

They were his first Premier League goals since his only previous successful effort in July 2020. The brace arrived in his first top-flight appearance of the season (and since he returned from a loan spell with Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie last term).

Out of contract in June 2023, Nelson – who has also played three times in this season’s Europa League – will have sent a timely reminder of what he is capable of. Only about to turn 23 in December, he could still have more chances to make a name for himself.

According to former Arsenal striker Wright, Nelson is “desperate” to cement his place at the Emirates Stadium.

In that regard, he has done his chances no harm after taking the first step towards justifying his decision to not go out on loan again as many people thought he might.

Wright told Premier League Productions: “I’m delighted for him.

“It’s credit to him and the work he’s put in because he’s been there for a long time.

“A lot of people have said he should have gone out on loan but he’s stayed.

Reiss Nelson rewarded for obvious impression on Arteta

“Mikel has given everyone an opportunity if they are impressing and working hard – he’s obviously been doing that. He’s been rewarded for his hard work today and I’m pleased for him because he’s Arsenal through and through.

“He’s desperate to play for Arsenal and prove himself at Arsenal and this is a big step towards that. I’m just delighted for him.”

Nelson now has six goals and five assists to his name from a total of 52 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions.

He will have to back up what he has done on Sunday in more appearances to convince Arsenal of his long-term potential. They already have several other impactful players of a similar age.

But with four matches still to come before the World Cup, and Saka’s availability in doubt, Nelson might want to build some momentum while he can.

Arsenal are next in action against Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday.

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