Arsene Wenger has backed Jeff Reine-Adelaide to make the step up to Arsenal’s first team sooner rather than later
The 18-year-old Frenchman, who signed from Lens in 2015 and one of the stars of that summer’s Emirates Cup – most notably nutmegging Kevin De Bruyne with ease – has already featured in three domestic cup games for Arsenal over the past two seasons but is yet to make his Premier League debut for the North London side.
Wenger believes the youngster is now ready to begin proving himself worthy of a first-team position. According to The Standard, Wenger said :
“My belief is that Jeff is ready to play because he has it all in his locker – the strength, the physical power, the technical level.”
“He has to add efficiency to his game – that will come with games as well – but he will have an opportunity to show that I am right about him.”
The youngster can look to Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi as examples of players who have successfully made the jump from the reserves to the first team. The latter was a revelation last season, and is now a key part of Arsene Wenger’s side.
Reine-Adelaide, who made his professional debut for Arsenal on 9 January this year against Sunderland in the FA Cup, coming on as an 81st-minute substitute for Joel Campbell in a 3–1 win at the Emirates Stadium, has shown great promise in the few games he has featured for Arsenal, with his silky skills and composure on the ball.
The youngster has also featured for France at every level till the Under-19s. Wenger has also confirmed that the youngster will start tonight against Reading, in Arsenal’s EFL cup clash with the Championship side.