Nelson reveals Per Mertesacker advice: "It’s not always about football"
Thursday 21 March 2019 12:41, UK
Arsenal and England U21 midfielder Reiss Nelson says Callum Hudson-Odoi's rapid rise is fuelling his motivation to succeed.
Nelson, 19, impressed in his first few months of a season-long loan at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, scoring six goals in his first four months.
But while Jadon Sancho has been labelled "one of the greatest talents we've seen here" by Borussia Dortmund supporters, Nelson has struggled for game time in 2019.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been accelerated through to join Sancho in England's senior squad for their opening European Qualifiers despite not starting a Premier League game for Chelsea, though.
England U21s come into their home friendly with Poland on Thursday on a run of 18 games unbeaten under Aidy Boothroyd.
And Nelson is using Hudson-Odoi's journey to drive himself on.
"I've played against him in the youth league when he was at Chelsea," Nelson told Sky Sports News. "He's my friend so you want to get there as well.
"It's very inspiring, just wants to make you push even more, train even harder and get to that level."
Nelson maintains German football has been good for him, "not just on the pitch, off the pitch as well".
It is something Arsenal's new academy director, Per Mertesacker, keeps reminding him about.
"I'm learning different culture," said Nelson. "I'm taking in the environment.
"Per's just been very direct to me, telling me it's not always about football sometimes it's about off the pitch.
"He tells me 'you're learning a new language, new environment, just keep up with your performances'."