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"That’s what he was meant to be" - Rio Ferdinand challenges Arsenal attacker to become the 'go-to guy' after Nottingham Forest heroics

Rio Ferdinand on Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson
Rio Ferdinand on Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has urged Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson to continue to push for a starting spot at the club.

The 22-year-old Englishman made his first Premier League appearance of the season on October 30 against Nottingham Forest at the Emirates. Bukayo Saka had to be subbed off due to an injury and Nelson replaced him at the 27-minute mark.

He scored two goals and provided an assist in Arsenal's 5-0 win over the newly-promoted side.

🍿 Highlights are here, Gooners!📺 Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest 👇 https://t.co/xMicFdYgc3

This earned him praise from fans and pundits alike. Ferdinand has, meanwhile, urged Nelson to continue to build on his exploits against Nottingham to push for a first-team place at the Emirates.

He said on his YouTube channel (via The Boot Room):

“The big thing for him is he can’t allow this to be just another moment. This has to become, not the norm, scoring two, but the norm in being relied upon in Arsenal’s setup. He needs to be the go-to guy when, if a Saka or Martinelli aren’t fit, or if they’re out of form, or if the game’s not going well, then all of a sudden he’s pushing to be a starter in this team."

He added:

"Because his potential, as a kid, that’s what he was meant to be. But he has to go on now. It can’t be that you’ve had this moment now and celebrate it and we don’t see him again for another year and he goes on a couple of loans.”

Nelson made three appearances before the Nottingham game in the UEFA Europa League but failed to provide any goal contributions.


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on Reiss Nelson's display against Nottingham Forest

Mikel Arteta also lauded the Englishman, sharing how all his teammates and the staff are pleased for Nelson as well.

💪 What a performance from @ReissNelson9 https://t.co/Pb0iVsmCUV

In a post-match press conference, the Spanish tactician said (via Arsenal.com):

"I think not only me, but all his teammates and all the staff are so happy for him because he’s a kid that is he’s really changing, he’s really evolving, he’s really maturing and he’s showing every day how much he wants it and today he had an opportunity and he did extremely well because he helped us to win the game."

Arsenal are currently at the top of the Premier League table with 31 points from 12 and are atop their UEFA Europa League group as well. They will next host FC Zurich on November 3 before facing Chelsea away on November 6.

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Edited by Puranjay
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