Robert Pires says he has been impressed by three of Arsenal’s young midfielders this season; Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi.
In particular, the 45-year-old highlighted Nelson’s outstanding performances at Hoffenheim and hopes the youngster can put his experience into practise next season at the Emirates, when he returns from his loan spell.
“I think he’s doing well, I follow him at Hoffenheim,” Pires told iNews .
“He’s a very good player, he’s on loan and I think he needed to play, he needed to prove [himself]. Of course he will come back to Arsenal because he is a great player, because he has a lot of potential and a good future, I hope with Arsenal. But I repeat: for him, the most important [thing] is to play every game.
“He’s a very talented player. You know when you play for Arsenal, if you want to play for Arsenal, you need to be very, very good. Reiss is young, he needs to learn, he knows that’s why he’s on loan in the German league. He needs to play every game but I think he’s on a good road.”
Pires also believes that Arsenal may have found another future superstar in Emile Smith Rowe .
“Smith Rowe is one of the best young players Arsenal have, because he can play on the right, on the left, good technique, good vision,” said the former Arsenal winger.
“The last game in the Europa League he scored. So I think Emile is one of the best. He’s very relaxed when he plays and it’s good for him.”
The 18-year-old has enjoyed a superb start to life as a senior Arsenal player, and in six appearances for the first team has registered three goals.
During Pires’ heyday, the Gunners’ squad boasted the likes of Tony Adams, Ray Parlour and Ashley Cole, who had emerged through the club’s youth system, but they were supplemented with the foreign talents such as Patrick Vieria, Thierry Henry and, of course, Pires himself.
The current Arsenal team shares some similarities with Arsene Wenger’s sides of the early 2000s and the signing of Guendouzi last summer highlighted that French connection is still present at the Emirates.
“For Arsenal it’s very important to have a player like Matteo Guendouzi,” said Pires. “He’s a good player and I think he can make a success with Arsenal. I hope so.
“He’s a great player, he’s very talented and he’s very confident."