Arsene Wenger sees great potential in Gedion Zelalem

GedionZelalemHoboken, New JerseyArsenal will take on former star player Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in a friendly match tonight. Unlike other English Premier League teams like Manchester United and Manchester City, who are going to be playing a number of preseason games on American soil, Arsenal is here for one game and one game only.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis (formerly the deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer) were in Hoboken, N.J., on Thursday to speak at the Emirates Business Breakfast, and took some time afterward to speak exclusively to about the upcoming season and all things Arsenal:

SI: Let’s get this one out of the way for American fans. We’ve heard a lot about Gedion Zelalem. We’ve seen bits of him on YouTube. He is eligible to play for the United States national team if he acquires citizenship. And he’s on your roster for the game on Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls. What can you tell us about him?

Wenger: He is a player with a good eye and good technique and is very agile. He has the ambition to find the ball on the field. So he’s the kind of player who could be of use to the United States. He’s in some ways the type of player the U.S. was missing in the World Cup.

He is potentially an international player, for sure. But the next two or three years he will have to show he has the mental qualities to fill that potential. That’s what’s at stake for him now. If he grows physically, since he’s slim, and continues to develop his mentality, the potential is there for him to be a top professional player.

Read more at: Sports Illustrated