Arsene Wenger has used Calum Chambers almost exclusively as a right-back this season, but he claims the young star’s future lies in central defence.
Chambers was a somewhat surprise signing this past summer, and no one expected us to bring him in from Southampton.
He looked to be an excellent signing at the start of the season, and he performed well in a range of defensive positions. It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t suited to the right-back role however, and since the emergence of Hector Bellerin he has struggled for game time.
Wenger is well aware that the former Saints star doesn’t have the attributes to be a full-back, as the position is far more physically demanding than it used to be – with pace a key asset.
The manager claims he will be used as a centre-back in pre-season however, as he looks far more comfortable in a central position.
“First, his stature [suits a central defensive position],” Wenger said (via Arsenal.com).
“The fact he is intelligent and reads the game well, the fact that he’s more at ease in the middle.
“On the flank, today you need more pace, more change of direction, more agility. He has the stamina, the power and the quality to be a central midfielder or a central defender.
“He’s pretty much there. At the moment I have players who have more experience than he has [at centre back], but in pre-season I will play him there.”
The 20-year-old was somewhat thrown in at the deep end this season, and understandably struggled at times. He has been given the run around by pacey wingers on occasion, with Swansea’s Jefferson Montero in particular making him look poor.
“He has had some difficult games, but that’s part of gaining experience and the learning process,” the manager continued.
“It did teach him, he’s an intelligent boy, he thinks about his game after – how he could have blocked him [Montero] better, how he could have stopped the crosses and to read the game of your opponent is an important part for a defender.”
It was clear right from the start that Chambers was better suited to a central role, so it’s excellent to hear that he will get his chance there come the end of the season.