Arsene Wenger and Mikel Arteta are the latest to praise exciting teenage winger Serge Gnabry after a pulsating, all action performance in Saturday’s North London derby.
The German starlet was handed a rare start against the Spuds, turning Danny Rose inside out with his pace and trickery, creating several opportunities for the Gunners including a well weighted through ball for Cazorla’s opener.
Wenger confirmed the former Stuttgart midfielder will get more games under his belt especially if he continues to produce results and can cope with the high demands of the Premiership.
Gnabry scored an excellent goal against Swansea earlier this season and won a vital penalty against a stubborn Crystal Palace, but has struggled to make many appearances since despite the absence of recognized wingers. Wenger has instead preferred to utilize Wilshere in a wider role than field the young German midfielder, but he will get more opportunities this season especially in the FA Cup.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain underwent a similar treatment after he burst onto the scene in 2011, with Wenger reluctant to pile the pressure on the 18-year-old.
Wenger revealed his pleasure over Gnabry’s development and performance over the weekend, hailing him as an intelligent player. He told Arsenal.com:
We have a bigger squad than people expect. Especially when you see people like Gnabry – we had Gibbs and Ramsey out – [it shows] we have plenty of players who can compete for a place in the team.
I loved Serge’s game because he is not only an individual talent but his position on the pitch was right ands his contribution to the team work was right. He gave two or three balls to score and I like that, it’s a sign of quality.
I will give him more games but he plays on the right in the position where Walcott plays, but he can play on the left as well. It’s about balance in the team as well, and about the balance between attacking and defending. He’s a very intelligent player.
Mikel Arteta feels the winger/attacking midfielder has the attributes to be a big player for the north London club, with his attacking prowess adding another dimension to the Gunners frontline.
Gnabry, despite his tender age, has proven he can cope with the physical English game. Arteta feels the Germany youth international’s brave attitude, solid build and silky skills has helped him to slot seamlessly into Arsenal’s first team and stands him in good stead for more game time this season.
The Gunners vice-captain said:
I think he’s got a lot of quality. He’s got something not many players have in this team, which is pace and skill to go and beat people.
That’s why the manager played him – three up front is something that helps us be more incisive.
We want to go behind [the opponents] and get into one versus one situations. Gnabry is very good like that and I’m very pleased for him because I think he did really well.
He’s like a little boxer, he’s a little fighter. He’s good. He’s got a lot of character as well, the lad doesn’t get intimidated either because it’s a derby.
His character is great. You see it in training. Technically, he is very good but he’s got something about him as well. He doesn’t mind when he gets kicked, he gets up and goes for the next ball. He’s quite brave.
Gnabry has proven several times this season that Wenger can depend on him to produce the goods when there is a need for rotation.
Unluckily for the young German, Wenger has opted for experience in wide areas when there was a winger shortage, with other stars such as Wilshere, Cazorla and Rosicky operating on the wings.
The return of both Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott has only limited his opportunities more, not to mention the impending return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, however with injuries already nailing the squad, there will be further chances for Gnabry to start especially with the fixtures coming thick and fast over the next few months.
What are your thoughts Gooners? Were you impressed with Gnabry’s performance against the Spuds? Do you think he deserves more action? Comment below..