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Keerthi Krishna writes a detailed scout report about Jeff Reine Adelaide, the highly rated Arsenal and France youngster.
Arsenal have a knack of getting highly rated youth players from other academies and moulding them into world class players. This list includes the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Aaron Ramsey, Nicolas Anelka, Theo Walcott and more recently Hector Bellerin. One such youngster in the Arsenal youth teams is the midfielder Jeff Reine Adelaide. He has caught the eye of many pundits after some impressive performances for the Arsenal junior teams. He certainly has the potential to follow the footsteps of the aforementioned players.
He was born on 17th of January 1998 in Champigny-Sar-Marne, France. Reine Adelaide started his career with RC Lens, where he played for the club’s reserve side. He made his first-team debut for RC Lens as an unused substitute on 18 April 2015 against Metz which Lens lost 3-1. The following window he signed for the English giants Arsenal for a fee around 1.75 million euros. A late withdrawal from the pre-season tour of Asia meant most fans had to wait until the Emirates Cup in 2015 to see him play for the first time. He came on as a sub in the 6-0 win against Lyon and played more than an hour against Wolfsburg, setting up the only goal of the game. He made his professional debut in the FA cup fixture against Sunderland Since then he has made 5 senior appearances for Arsenal with all of them coming in cup competitions. He has made himself an important cog of Arsenal’s youth setup. He scored twice for the under-21s, and three times during the run to the FA Youth Cup semi-final. Such performances caught the eye of Arsenal coaches and pundits alike. He has been promoted to the senior team this season and has travelled with the squad for the Premier League matches. His appearances have come in EFL cup ties and hopes to get more play time in FA Cup. He has also been a part of Frances U16, U17 and U18 squads. Reine-Adelaide represented France in the European Under-17 Championship where he featured heavily as they won the tournament with a 4-1 victory against Germany in the final.
“Reine-Adelaide is something special you know. He is a great talent and when he came on you could see that – 17 years old let’s not forget that. In fact I don’t remember how I played at 17 but I didn’t play like that!”- Arsene Wenger
‘Something special’ is not a phrase that a veteran manager like Wenger would throw around without reason.
Adelaide is only 17-years-old but plays with the vision of someone ten years his senior. Standing at 6ft, he’s quite a physical lad yet still very technically gifted and very intelligent on the ball. Never passing the ball backwards if there are options ahead. Furthermore, Adelaide is comfortable using both feet and impressed featuring on the wings for Arsenal despite his preference of a more central position.
Perhaps his most impressive performance for the Gunners came against Wolfsburg in a friendly where he overshadowed Kevin De Bruyne and ended up with the man of the match award. He repeatedly befuddled Sebastian Jung on the right side of the Wolfsburg defence. A particularly impressive moment saw him perform a series of stepovers before checking back inside and then moving back onto his left to put in a dangerous cross which had to be cleared. He also assisted Theo Walcott’s opener for the Gunners, cutting in from the left before threading a beautiful through ball to the England international. Another pass for Walcott from the centre almost gave Arsenal their second, had Wolfsburg goalkeeper Benaglio not come quickly and early to clear the danger.
He shields the ball exceptionally well and is very difficult to tackle. His nimble footwork allows him to operate in small spaces, and he already has the confidence to play as manager Arsene Wenger instructs his midfielders to do. He is very proficient technically and has good vision. He has a very good work rate. His flair and dribbling. makes him a tricky opponent for the opposition. His trademark trick is a drag-back that leaves defenders lunging at the ball and left flat-footed as he bursts away with his rangy stride. He is extremely versatile and is adept with both feet.
There were instances in the Emirates Cup games where he spent too long on the ball, tried too hard to beat opponents. Fortunately, these are problems that can be ironed out. Decision making is also a work in progress. Passing, Crossing and Finishing also needs to be improved considerably. His performance against Southampton in the Capital one cup showed he is raw and needs furnishing to become a complete product. The day when he made Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne look silly seemed a long way away, with Reine-Adelaide lacking the quality in possession he did on his pre-season debut. If anything he was too confident, giving the ball away and unable to threaten the Southampton defence.
There is no doubt that Adelaide has chosen one of the best clubs in the world to progress along with a manager renowned for giving youngsters their chance in a highly competitive business. Wenger knows how to nurture young talent, but Adelaide will have to do a lot of work on his own and the fitness staff must prepare him physically in order to step up.
He will get his appearances in Cup competitions and he needs to prove himself in the limited chances he gets to have any chance of breaking into the Arsenal main team. He certainly has the potential and skillset to do so and make a name for himself.
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