Soccer-Arsenal boss Arteta urges returning Nelson to prove his worth

Soccer Football - Europa League - Arsenal Training - Arsenal Training Centre, London Colney, Britain - October 5, 2022 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during training Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has challenged Reiss Nelson to seize his opportunity with the youngster set to return against Norway's Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The 22-year-old winger, who spent last season on loan at Dutch side Feyenoord, has not featured this campaign due to a thigh injury he picked up in August.

"After the spell that he had last year on loan, we wanted him back to see if there are any changes and there's a prospect that we can really take to the next level," Arteta told reporters on Wednesday.

"We think the potential is there and we think we've seen something in Reiss that is special... I think everybody is talking about it and now he needs to do it on the pitch."

Arteta added that the club were working on new contracts for William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, youngsters who have played a pivotal role in Arsenal's impressive start to the season.

"We have to plan for the future. (Technical director) Edu is on top of it and all the board, and we will try to do things in the right way and reward the players that in our opinion have a big future for the club," he said.

Bodo/Glimt are top of Group A with four points from two games while Arsenal are second after overcoming FC Zurich in their opening fixture.

Last season the Norwegian team beat Serie A side AS Roma twice in four matches in the Europa Conference League, including a 6-1 thrashing, as well as knocking out Celtic and AZ Alkmaar.

"We've done our homework. Obviously, we have made the players aware of the team that we are facing tomorrow, the history and what they've done in the last few years," said Arteta.

"And we have Martin (Odegaard) in the squad who knows them really well."

Arsenal have a one-point lead at the top of the Premier League but Arteta insisted that Europe's second-tier competition was not a distraction but a learning experience for his young team.

"It's a help... playing in Europe is always great. At the moment it's our reality and we have to accept it. It’s part of our next step," said the Spaniard.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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