Freddie Ljungberg has declared that Reiss Nelson is “the future of Arsenal” despite not picking the 19-year-old in the match day squad for the club’s game against Norwich on Sunday.
The game was Ljungberg’s first match at the helm of the club, and revealed leaving Nelson behind was his toughest decision in selecting his debut side.
Ljungberg discussed the decision process he went through in selecting his first team while backing Nelson to become a key player for the club going forwards, saying: “There are difficult decisions to be made, for example I left Reiss Nelson back home in London, which for me is really hard because he’s the future of this club in my opinion, a great talent, but I had to leave him out.
“Those are the decisions you have to do as a manager, and it’s not always easy. I believe in how people treat me, I give everybody a possibility. I felt that was the best balance of our team.”
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This summer, we spoke to Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin about Ljungberg’s appointment to Assistant Manager before his current step up to Interim Manager at the club, and all three players were excited to be working with the Gunners’ legend.
Speaking about Ljungberg, Maintland-Niles said: “It’s definitely important for players like us, having someone like that to look up to, in his position. He was one of the Invincibles, and he’s such a huge name in terms of Arsenal and their history, so he’s someone the youth players look up to a lot. To bring him in is huge for the youth players, as they’re more driven to see someone like him in the set up and looking out for us. I feel like he won’t be scared to throw us in the deep end, and having him alongside us is a great opportunity for us.”
Hector Bellerin said: “He’s young as well, which is important. He just gets it. He’s one of the boys as a result. He’s been through it more recently, and we’re already sensing that from the early training sessions with him – it’s been good.”
In other football news, former Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom lookly likely to be moving back to London with West Ham interested in signing the 24-year-old.