Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on youngsters Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson after both players produced impressive displays against Sydney FC in the club's opening pre-season game in Australia.

The pair were in the starting eleven and made a positive impression as the Gunners completed a 2-0 win.

The manager is a huge fan of both forwards, recently claiming that they were close to making the jump to the first team setup, and was vindicated by their performances against Sydney.

Willock had a really good chance to get his name on the scoresheet when he waltzed past the Sydney defence, only to be saved by in-form goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

Wenger insists that the talent of a player can be judged with his hunger for the ball by the age of 17. "Since I've been in the game I've understood that you either have that [confidence] at 17 years of age or you don't," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.

"Some of the players I've had in my career have turned 18 years old and it seems natural for them to be on the pitch. They just think, 'Let's play', and Reiss behaves like that.

"They all did well today, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock as well had a very strong performance. They are young, just 17 or 18 years old, so that is very promising.

"Pre-season is there for that, for me to understand how close they are. It's the first game, it's a bit early. What they've shown tonight means they have the chance of being very, very close."

The Gunners won the game by a comfortable two-goal margin, with the first coming from Per Mertesacker which was followed by an astute finish by new signing Alexandre Lacazette.

The former Lyon man showed promising signs of neat link-up play with his team, scoring what can be considered a tap-in by his standards.

Reiss Nelson
Reiss Nelson is set to be promoted to Arsenal's first team next season Getty