Arsene Wenger has welcomed further first-team players ahead of the Emirates Cup, which will see Arsenal taking on Benfica on Saturday (29 July) and then face Sevilla on Sunday.

Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding returned to training earlier this week and are in contention to play in the tournament hosted by the Gunners as a curtain raiser to the new season. Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez are the only two players yet to join training and are expected to return on Sunday after completing their extended breaks owing to international commitments.

The French coach has included youth-team stars Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Cohen Bramall in the 25-man squad for the Emirates Cup after the trio impressed during Arsenal's pre-season tour of Australia and China. Wenger has backed the former two of the aforementioned trio to make the step up to the senior squad this season, while the latter could also be afforded chances to stake a claim with the first-team.

The Arsenal boss has also made it clear to the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy and Lucas Perez that they are not part of his plans for the upcoming season by omitting them from the first-team yet again. The quartet were also not part of the Gunners' recent pre-season tour.

"This time, I believe that you will see Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock. Maybe Cohen Bramall as well. We also had Eddie Nketiah, who is doing very well, Donyell Malen, who is doing very well, on tour but there is not necessarily room for them to play. They have all shown interesting qualities on the tour," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror.

The 67-year-old manager is hoping to give most of the players in the squad for the Emirates Cup a run out for the full 90 minutes in the two matches as they ramp up preparations for the start of the season. Arsenal take on Chelsea in the Community Shield on 6 August before welcoming Leicester City to the Emirates for the first game of the Premier League season on Friday (11 August).

"You'll see everybody because I will play two teams. One of the most interesting parts of the Emirates Cup for me is that I can give 90 minutes to most of the players in the squad. I will try to do that," the Frenchman added.

Reiss Nelson
Joe Willock
Wenger has backed Nelson (L) and Willock to make the step up to the first-team this season (Getty)