Zelalem recently acquired his citizenship through the Child Citizenship Act after his father became a U.S. citizen. Zelalem has represented Germany at the youth level of International play, he was also eligible to play for Ethiopia. Zelalem is no stranger to US soil, as he has played for various club sides in the D.C. area. His talent was spotted by Danny Karbassiyoon, an Arsenal scout whose career was cut short due to injuries. Gedion joined the Arsenal youth ranks in 2013, where he has featured sporadically on the first team bench.
Despite all the promise and potential, there are some reasons to temper expectations. Zelalem rarely imposes his will on a game, and is often found to be a spectator drifting in and out of matches. His slight build leaves him second best in most physical midfield battles. He has been overrun by bigger, faster, stronger, and more experienced opposition. However, the potential can be seen with his spectacular close control and field vision. Zelalem can provide that final unlocking ball, which is something that few players are capable of for the current National Team.
The US loves to hype up players with talent and potential (see Freddy Adu). What needs to be realized, at 17 years old his career has many different paths it could follow. Many promising Arsenal youngsters have come and gone, with a limited amount even making it to the Premier League. Just remember for every Jack Wilshere, there are plenty of players who fail to make the grade: Mark Randall, Craig Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt, the list goes on and on. Few make the grade to play in the Premier League, and even fewer make it in the Red/White of Arsenal.