Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson is ready to repay the faith shown in him by Arsene Wenger by helping to fill the void left behind by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s departure.
Oxlade-Chamberlain left the Gunners in a deadline-day move to Liverpool for a reported £35 million fee.
On Thursday, Wenger admitted he was disappointed to see the England international leave, but that he felt the squad was good enough to compete without him, singling out the duo of Nelson and Joe Willock as potential replacements.
And the 17-year-old Nelson appreciated his manager’s support, telling Arsenal’s official website he is looking forward to the chance to show what he can do.
"It’s a great feeling," Nelson told Arsenal Player. "Along with Joe as well, we’re both still young players looking for the opportunity, so when things like that happen I think we’ll be ready for it and will take it with both hands.”
Much like Oxlade-Chamberlain, who featured all over the field at different points during his Arsenal tenure, Nelson has the versatility to play in different positions. While he currently is playing an attacking role, he is prepared if Wenger chooses to deploy him as a wing-back.
"At the end of the day I’m a player and if the boss puts my in that position, I will do my best job for the team,” Nelson said. “At the moment I’m playing in a front three and I’m finding my goals there, and feeling really confident there.
"At the moment I’m happy to play in a front three or, if I have to do it for the team, play right wing-back as well.
"The boss said to me to just play with freedom, play as I would normally play, I went out with that in mind and I think I showed that as well.
“For the defending that I had to do, I decided to be smart and a lot of the older boys’ encouragement helped me to do that. It went well."
Nelson, who signed his first professional contract in December 2016, made a substitute appearance for Arsenal in their Community Shield win over Chelsea in August. He has yet to make his Premier League debut for the Gunners.
He has featured for the Arsenal under-23 side this season and gotten off to a hot start, scoring five goals in just three games for the reserve side.