Arsene Wenger spoke a little bit the other day about the young Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem, and while the manager clearly thinks that the talented 19-year old has a bright future ahead of him, he also suggested that the German born USA international is perhaps still not ready for the Arsenal first team and the rigours of the Premier League and top level football.
Metro reported him saying, ‘I think he’s a player who has quality, top quality,’ said Wenger.
‘He might be a bit longer to mature because he is a little bit behind on the body structure.
‘But I’m sure he will be a great player who matures maybe a bit slowly physically.
‘But overall, I’m convinced that he’ll have a great career.
‘Will he play [on Thursday]? Certainly [he’ll be] part of the game.’
However, Zelalem himself does not seem to agree with his manager, as he explained to ESPN that he feels that his season on loan with Rangers, during which he played 28 times and helped them to win promotion to the Scottish Premier League and reach the final of the Scottish Cup, was the perfect preparation for him to now feature in the English Premier League and he is hoping that he stays with the Gunners this season and gets a chance to prove it.
Zelalem said, “It helped me a lot, playing in front of 50,000 [fans] every week. Just being a first-team player, the big media press around Scotland was massive as well. I learned a lot on the pitch, to play quicker. It helped physically as well. I’m happy with it.
“I’m just more confident in my ability,” he said. “I’m good enough to play in [the Premier League]. I’m just hoping to get that chance.”
He might still be a bit lightweight physically but that has not stopped the likes of Cesc Fabregas from showing what he could do at an early age. Is it a case of, if he’s good enough he is old and strong enough?