Arsenal and France youth starlet Jeff Reine-Adelaide has yet to make a competitive appearance for his new club, but he is already a fan favourite after a couple of standout performances in this season’s Emirates Cup.
He recently spoke to the club’s official website about how he joined the team and his feelings about his experiences so far. The young winger is touted to have a very bright future based on his exceptional technical skills and muscular build.
He signed over the summer from recently relegated French side RC Lens.
Lens had followed me for a while. They came to supervise me in a district tournament where I was voted best player on the pitch. They came to my house to discuss things with my parents. Everything went really quick [after that]. Lens were in Ligue 1 and had a bit of a financial problem. They didn’t have enough players to be competitive.
Naturally, no 17-year-old with great potential wants to play in France’s second tier, so the player affectionately known as Jeff is grateful for the opportunity to join one of England’s biggest teams.
We were in the bottom three for most of the season and didn’t manage to save the club from relegation. I was lucky Arsenal came [in for me]. I could have been a Ligue 2 player in France. I’m so grateful to be here.
Reine-Adelaide has been a standout for the under-21 side this season and even played at the under-U17 World Cup for France. When Arsene Wenger went to sign him, he made what seemingly has turned out to be a good choice as he signed a young player who has played a lot of football recently, which will only help him to further his development. After getting an assist on his first appearance at the Emirates Cup, he was without a doubt the most hyped youth player on the planet.
I was happy – very happy actually. The fans seemed to be happy too. In fact, everyone was happy for me, including the coach and that is important. Of course it was a strange feeling, the media talks only about superstars. I was very surprised but of course happy. My parents told me I have not done anything yet – they told me to keep my feet on the ground and that I should keep working hard.
That performance put a great amount of confidence into himself and his coaches, both at the senior level and youth level, but he evidently remained grounded during the process of his development.
I think I need to improve every single day when I train, show that I’m focused and concentrating and show that I want to succeed. I need to show I will never give up, then, if one day I get my chance, it is my duty to show the coach to put his trust in me. Then I will fight to regularly be in the first team.