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Ex-coach surprised by Arsenal chance for George Lewis: I'm shocked

George Lewis' former coaches are delighted for the imminent Arsenal signing.

The Norwegian was previously playing for third-division clubs in his homeland, such as Tromsdalen and Fram Larvik, but had become a free agent.

Yet having spent a fortnight training with the Gunners earlier this year, Arsenal are now set to take on the fleet-footed attacker.

The player's former coach at Tromsdalen, Jonathan Hill, told Goal: "It's been in the news over here about Arsenal but no-one really gave it much attention at first.

“I'm delighted for George, but I'm also a little surprised.

"He's nearly 20 and never been near the national teams and it's not like he's gone off the radar here during his development.

“So it has come as a surprise, but hopefully he can do well over there if it happens.

“George was probably 14 or 15 when I first saw him, he was training over here.

"He was at Tromsdalen, the club I'm head coach of now and then left to join TIL when I went to Sheffield Wednesday.

“George was a professional here, I gave him the contract because he was a player with real potential and then he decided, against my advice, to leave and he's been looking at other football opportunities for the past months.

“He's got some really outstanding qualities, but he's also raw. If this happens, it's brilliant because he does have some talent.

“I'm a little shocked but can understand why George would impress coaches at Arsenal's level.

“Why I'm surprised is that you have to look at why he's not made it in Norway, which is the 26th ranked country in Europe and no-one else has taken him apart from me - who saw something in him.

"He's very quick and direct. He likes a stepover and has a range of tricks.

"He can beat a player - whether he can beat a Premier League full-back though is a different thing.

"He would have played in my first team, but he probably wouldn't have been a regular. But that is normal for such a young player. He would have been more of an impact player as that's what he can give.

“I gave him his professional contract so I thought he had something because he's got good pace, but he needs to improve his decision making and I'm sure that will improve working with players of Arsenal's standard.

“I really wish him well. He's a really nice guy and this could be the thing that gets him going."

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Paul Vegas

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