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Teenager Reiss Nelson eyeing new Arsenal contract

Nelson has had brief flirtations with the Arsenal first team this season.

Highly-rated teenager Reiss Nelson is hopeful he will sign a new contract at Arsenal in the coming weeks.

The 18-year-old has had brief flirtations with the Arsenal first team this season, culminating in his full Premier League debut in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Southampton.

An England Under-19 international, Nelson featured in all of the Gunners’ Europa League group matches earlier in the campaign.

That competition is becoming increasingly important to manager Arsene Wenger as it presents the only chance to win silverware and the most probable way of returning to the Champions League given they are 13 points adrift from the top four in the Premier League.

The Frenchman has therefore started to rest key individuals before European fixtures, making seven changes for the game against Saints from the side that beat CSKA Moscow 4-1 in the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

Nelson was one of the players to come into the side and, having achieved such a landmark, he is now keen to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.

“It is a big achievement to sign for a big club like Arsenal so I’m just delighted with the contract and hopeful that I can sign it soon,” he said.

“I did set one target – to make my first-team debut. I have done that, I have had 15 appearances.

“A Premier League start was on the cards but I think I need to score, that is the only one I haven’t achieved so fingers crossed I can get a cheeky goal before the end of the season.

“I think a first-team start in the Premier League at a high level like this is always a step forward. I’ve just got to thank the boss and all my team-mates around me, pushing me and making me work harder and harder.”

Nelson admits he is enjoying the tutelage of working under Wenger and he could yet make up part of the squad which travels to Russia this week for the second leg against CSKA.

“He is one of the biggest (influences) for me, he keeps pushing the youngsters – me, Eddie (Nketiah) and Joe (Willock) – I think he has got a bight future planned for us,” added Nelson.

“We just have to keep training well and I think – with a boss like that – he is always going to push us and will give us first-team football when the opportunities arise.”

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