Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson has revealed the advice he’s received from Per Mertesacker after Hoffenheim reportedly dropped him for disciplinary reasons.
Nelson had a promising start to his loan spell at Hoffenheim, scoring six goals in his opening 11 appearances, but the 19-year-old forward has failed to nail down a place in Julian Nagelsmann’s starting XI and is yet to find the net in 2019.
While Nelson has struggled for game-time in Germany, his close friend, Jadon Sancho, has taken the Bundesliga by storm and has even worked his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Nelson has also watched Callum Hudson-Odoi’s meteoric rise from afar and claims he’s been ‘inspired’ by the Chelsea youngster’s progress.
‘I’ve played against him in the youth league when he was at Chelsea,’ Nelson told Sky Sports.
‘He’s my friend so you want to get there as well.
‘It’s very inspiring, just wants to make you push even more, train even harder and get to that level.’
Arsenal academy manager Mertesacker has been in regular contact with Nelson, urging the teenager to focus both on and off the field amid his reported disciplinary issues.
‘I’m learning different culture. I’m taking in the environment,’ Nelson added.
‘Per’s just been very direct to me, telling me it’s not always about football sometimes it’s about off the pitch.
‘He tells me ‘you’re learning a new language, new environment, just keep up with your performances.’
Despite Hoffenheim boss Nagelsmann dropping Nelson as an ‘educational measure’ earlier this month, Mertesacker has been impressed with the winger’s progress.
‘It’s quite interesting for him, the journey he’s facing in Germany. The challenges and he’s describing it as a tough time,’ Mertesacker told Goal.
‘Everyday in training there’s something he takes on. With a young manager [Nagelsmann] who really believes in him and gives him chances, sometimes he comes off the bench and makes the difference.
‘So for him the next step is really to play regularly, playing from the start.
‘That’s his next challenge but at the moment he’s making an impact coming off the bench, he’s getting minutes, he’s learning a new culture, a new language. ‘I think it’s very beneficial to him.’