Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has hailed the pre-season impact of summer signing Jeff Reine-Adelaide - but insists the youngster still has a lot to learn in north London.
The 17-year-old joined the Gunners alongside Yassin Fortune in a £3million double deal back in May, with Lens losing the French U17 internationals following their relegation from Ligue 1.
After impressing against Lyon and Wolfsburg during last weekend's Emirates Cup, it's Reine-Adelaide who has got the pulses racing at the Emirates Stadium - most notably with a fine assist for Walcott's winner against the Bundesliga outfit.
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Walcott can't help but be impressed with the way the teenage winger has adapted to life with the Arsenal first team, although adds a note of caution that he still has plenty to learn under Arsene Wenger.
“For 17 he’s confident on the ball and he wants to express himself as well, which is important. It’s always nice to see a young player not be shy on the ball. Even if he makes a mistake he wants it again, which is a good sign," Walcott told Arsenal Player.
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"He’s definitely got some skills and he’s very talented, I’ve got to admit”
“Getting that assist at the weekend just shows he’s got that touch in the final third where it matters most, and he’s got a good physical presence about him. The most important thing is not to put too much pressure on the young guy’s shoulders.
“He’s still got a lot to learn but he’s at the best club to do that with the best manager as well. He’s definitely got some skills and he’s very talented, I’ve got to admit.”
England winger Walcott is able to draw on his own experiences when advising on Reine-Adelaide, with the 26-year-old joining the Gunners at a similar age from Southampton back in 2006.
He admits he was a little in awe of the players he joined on arrival for a fee that would eventually be set at £9.1million, but he eventually settled well into life as an Arsenal player and enjoyed the chances when they came his way.
Take the opportunities
“I was completely starstruck when I first came here, so he may be in the same boat as well. It’s always quite surreal when you walk into the dressing room and you’re training with guys that you use to play as on FIFA," he added.
“It may take a while just to get used to that but when he plays games he’ll forget about that because he knows he’s good enough to be here. That’s why he’s been given the opportunity to play and if he gets that in his head, he will go far.”
With Wenger confirming Reine-Adelaide will not be leaving the club on loan this summer, Arsenal fans will be hoping to get further glimpses of the talented teenager this season, potentially starting against Chelsea in the FA Community Shield on Sunday.
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