Reiss Nelson says it was the chance to play for Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann which convinced him to make the move to Germany this season.
The 18-year-old is with the England U21s squad for the first time this month, after impressing with his early season form in the Bundesliga following a season-long loan switch from Arsenal.
- UEFA European U21 Championship
- 7.45pm, Thursday 11 October
- Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC
- Tickets: £10/£5
- Live on BT Sport
And Nelson admits that while it was tough to leave his boyhood club, albeit on a temporary basis, he’s reaping the rewards now.
“A loan wasn’t always my first option, but when I heard the Bundesliga and Hoffenheim was an option for me and working with the manager there, it was something I wanted to do," said Nelson, who scored on his Bundesliga debut against Fortuna Dusseldorf.
“Julian’s a great manager and he’s got belief in young players so it’s a good place for me to go and play.
“He’s [Nagelsmann] very young, he’s only 31 and I think it’s important to go to a team and a coach who believes in you, so he was the main reason because he is willing to play us.
“It was hard to leave my boyhood club Arsenal, it’s still my dream to play for Arsenal, but I know I have to put that on hold and go and play abroad to get some experience in Germany.
“So I’m trying to do my stuff there, get stronger and come back ready to play for Arsenal’s first team, so I had to take the opportunity to go there.
“I’ve settled in well and I’m enjoying it. My dad is German too, from near Munich, so I knew what to expect and I’m learning the language with an app called Babbel and it’s going well.”
Nelson linked up with Aidy Boothroyd’s squad on Monday as they began preparations for their final two Euro qualifiers against Andorra and Scotland.
The Young Lions only need a point from the two games to secure their spot at next summer’s U21 Euro Finals in Italy and all thoughts are on Thursday night’s game with the Andorrans in Chesterfield.
“We’ve been working in training towards the first game, just aiming to get the three points and come Thursday, we’ll be ready,” added the south Londoner.
“We’ve seen videos of Andorra so we know what to expect. They’ll play a really low block and we just need to keep switching the ball and be very patient in our play.
“We’ve got players who can provide the trickery in and around the box and can make something happen, so we’re looking forward to it.
“I’m just very excited to be here, the intensity is crazy and I’ve always got to be focused in every training session and just do my best.
“Being with the U17s, U18s, U19s and U20s previously, it just builds you up and when it comes to the U21s, it’s the main one and it’s your pathway to get to the senior team.
“It’s a very good level to be playing at, it’s very intense and the boys are very good, a lot of them are playing in the Premier League every week with their clubs so I’m just very happy to be here.”
Tickets for Thursday’s game at the Proact Stadium in Chesterfield are still on sale at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and can be purchased on the night.