With the injury problems among the Arsenal squad, we may be seeing more and more of the younger players of the team. Joel Campbell, one of the stand out performers of this year’s World Cup, has yet to make any significant appearance for the Gunners, and during the game against Chelsea he cut a frustrated figure on the bench.
One League Cup start and a couple of substitute appearances are all we’ve seen of this youngster, despite great hopes to the contrary that he will be one sensation too hot to handle now he’s fully returned. Campbell has been an Arsenal player since 2011 but is yet to get the opportunity to really prove himself. With his pace and power, he has all the right tools to be a striker but also does a good job on the wings. His game at Southampton was clearly not up to the heights of his exploits in the World Cup but there’s the sense that he will not fully become familiar with the English game unless he gets more time on the pitch.
Wenger would have us all believe that there is no chance he will let the Costa Rican leave anywhere, having ensured that Benfica’s summer plots to capture him, permanently or on loan, were foiled. The defeat in the League Cup however, means that the only time we may be certain to see Campbell in the starting XI would probably be in January, when the FA Cup begins.
This is not a good situation for either Arsenal or the player. By not giving him game time, we are not allowing him to discover his true potential, and by keeping him on the bench the player might get frustrated and choose to leave. A player of Campbell’s quality should not be allowed to leave without a fight, and it is surprising that Wenger has not been more proactive about retaining this player.
Campbell has stated that he is definitely ready to fight for his place in the team, and that is a good thing. But to be able to fight, we need to give him game time, and soon, or else another potential star will walk out the door of the Emirates. And considering the injury laden Arsenal squad, that is never a good thing.