They were widely seen as being the two standout members of Arsenal’s scholarship intake last summer and Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe have certainly lived up to expectations so far, especially when their recent performances are taken into consideration.
Despite being just 17, Nelson has established himself as an integral part of Arsenal’s U23 side and has made a stellar impact this campaign, whether deployed on the right wing, the left wing, as an attacking midfielder or slightly deeper.
Nelson was excellent in the U23s’ 3-3 draw with Manchester City on Monday night and has now scored in each of his last three games at that level as he performs with increased confidence.
Long since seen as an outstanding talent, the step up to the first-team is surely the next phase in Nelson’s development and he could well be involved with the senior squad in pre-season.
An excellent passer and dribbler, Nelson has it all in attacking sense and will be aiming to hit even greater heights next season.
Smith-Rowe, meanwhile, is making great strides at U18 level, with the winger, who like Nelson is an England youth international, having cemented his place as a major part of Kwame Ampadu’s team.
Usually a left winger but now being deployed more frequently on the right, Smith-Rowe possesses superb close control, while he is capable of linking play effectively and is also a threat in front of goal himself, as demonstrated by the fact that he has scored six times in 13 appearances for the U18s this campaign.
Having already featured for the U23s earlier in the season, the 16-year-old will hope to become increasingly involved at that level in 2017/18.
Both Nelson and Smith-Rowe have developed apace this season, with the pair definitely among Arsenal’s brightest prospects for the future.