Gedion Zelalem is back in the preseason spotlight, having been named to Arsenal's first team roster for their U.S. tour. The 17-year-old has already been confirmed for the Gunners' gameday roster when they square off against the New York Red Bulls in a friendly on Saturday, making it the first time he will get to show off for his possible national team fans.
Zelalem was born in Germany, but moved to the U.S. when he was nine years old. It wasn't long before he was considered one of the most promising youngsters in the country and earned an invite to U.S. U-15 training camp, but he was always limited because he did not have American citizenship. To this point -- and the best of our knowledge -- he still doesn't and is thus ineligible for the U.S. team, but he was reportedly on the verge of acquiring citizenship in May. If he does get citizenship, he can play for the U.S. and Jurgen Klinsmann has been recruiting him to do so.
Last preseason, Zelalem was Arsenal's breakout star. He was a surprise inclusion on the team's Asian Tour, but was spectacular there. His highlight reels were passed around Arsenal fan sites and social media. It became clear why he was one of the Gunners' most promising youngsters and the target of both the U.S. and Germany national teams.
Now Zelalem is hoping to make Arsenal's first team and stay there, earning time in the league and cups. The best way to do that is to shine in the preseason, something he has the opportunity to do, and do in front of the fans that may one day cheer him on for the U.S.