Reiss Nelson is hoping to put the disappointment of this summer’s U21 Euro Finals behind and take his experiences into the next campaign.
The Arsenal forward was one of seven players in Aidy Boothroyd’s 23-man squad in Italy this summer who are still young enough to feature in the next championships, with the Finals being held in Hungary and Slovenia in 2021.
Qualification for that tournament begins in September, when Nelson hopes to be able to help lead the line and continue to impress as he has done since first coming into the U21s squad last October.
“We still have a young generation coming through the ranks, who can do very well for the country,” said Nelson, who made his first start of the Finals and scored the opening goal in Monday’s 3-3 draw with Croatia.
“So we just have to wait and see who gets picked, but hopefully the good core that gets picked go and do well.
“It’s an exciting time for England supporters. We have a good core coming through and if we get our chance we can do well. We are ready, and when the chance comes our way we just have to take it.
“I was on the bench for the first two games and it wasn’t a nice feeling, but you know when you get your chance you have to take it.
“I tried to go out there and prove a point. I did that. I expressed myself, 100 per cent. I played with no fear and the team helped a lot of the younger players to perform well.”
Following his season on loan with German club Hoffenheim, Nelson is now preparing to return to Arsenal for next season and looking to make an impression with his boyhood club.
He believes his experiences in the Bundesliga, as well as with the Young Lions this term, mean he’ll return to the Emirates as a vastly different prospect to previous years.
And he’s keen to make the next step with the Gunners, when he returns for pre-season next month.
“I’ve had a long season, a season abroad and I’ve had it hard. I want a nice break and then come back into pre-season very fresh and ready to go,” added the south Londoner.
“I’ve got a bit bigger. I was playing at Arsenal when I was 17, when he [Arsene Wenger] gave me my debut against Southampton.
“I was very immature when I was playing but now I have a more mature role about me. I look to link-up play and I think I’m more mature.
“I learned a lot of stuff [in Germany], made a lot of friends and also I made a good connection with the managers. They taught me a lot of stuff that I can take on in my career.
“There were times when I wasn’t starting and I didn’t have a lot of people to talk to, just my family.
“It made me grow up as a person and on the pitch it showed. Whenever I got any minutes, I would have to take any opportunity that comes my way.”SEE THE U21s’ 2019-20 FIXTURES