SAN JOSE, Calif. — Young American international Gideon Zelalem said Wednesday at Arsenal training that he wasn’t sure if he would go out on loan again this year after spending last season with Scotland's Rangers FC.
But while the US youth international remains excited about donning the classic Arsenal red and white, his teammates heaped on the praise as well.
Later that afternoon, Gunners midfielder Coquelin called the 19-year-old a “top talent,” noting that his natural technical gifts should show during Arsenal’s US tour.
“I don’t know if you Americans have seen much of him, but you’ll probably get a chance to see what he can do on the pitch in the next two games,” Coquelin said of Arsenal’s match against the MLS All-Stars tonight (7:30 pm ET, ESPN, UniMás in US, TSN in Canada), and against Chivas on Thursday night at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“He’s a top player. He still needs physically to mature, because he’s young and it takes time, but in terms of technique and vision, he’s a good player.”
Forward Alex Iwobi, meanwhile, has played with Zelalem since they were both 16 years old – and he, too, praised his teammate’s development.
“His passing and his ability to keep the ball – he’s very good on the ball and his technique’s really good. That’s what the boss likes most about him,” he said of Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger’s thoughts on Zelalem. “He’s a big talent; he’s got a lot of ability. He definitely is one to watch for the future.”