Welcome to Wednesday on TremendArse. The pre-Leicester lull in Arsenal-related news is beginning to grate now because unlike most fans, who simply occupy themselves with life between games, I choose to write a daily blog about the club, so the dearth of stuff to discuss really is quite a pain in the Arse.
I know what you’re thinking: why write one then you ****? The answer is: I’m not sure. I like writing, and I love Arsenal, so it kind of makes sense to combine the two. It certainly beats going to the gym after work. I mean, if it’s typing or working on my triceps, there’s only going to be one winner. And who needs guns when you’ve got a cannon …
Sooooooooo, Calum Chambers has been speaking with Arsenal Player, discussing how he feels he’s progressed as a player and also picking his standout team-mate – and moment – of the year 2015. The former Southampton man said:
I have not played as much as I did the year before but I think it has been good for me as I have been able to take a step back and learn from the players in my positions and in training really focus on my role. [I have been] learning from the more experienced players and watching them in games. I think [Mesut Ozil] has been unbelievable. He is a world class player and it is a privilege to train with him so he has been my standout player of 2015. My favourite moment of the year would have to be the FA Cup final. That was an amazing experience and a really enjoyable moment.
After playing quite regularly as both centre-back and right-back at the start of last season, Chambers has indeed enjoyed far less game-time this term, but I think that may well change in the final few months of the season.
Following Chambers’ arrival in the summer of 2014, Hector Bellerin emerged as first-choice right-back from virtually nowhere and Gabriel was bought just over a year ago so competition for a place in the back four increased considerably.
But now that Mathieu Debuchy has left on loan, Chambers is Bellerin’s understudy, albeit he’s still fourth-choice for a game at centre-half and probably also now just as far away from an outing as a defensive midfielder behind Francis Coquelin, Mathieu Flamini and Mohamed Elneny.
What will certainly aid his cause is having the right attitude when not playing, something Debuchy evidently lacked but Calum himself has highlighted as paramount when speaking with the official site:
You’ve got to have a good attitude. I think that is one of the most important things for me growing up at Southampton. It is all about attitude and the willingness to learn and learn off others. You have to try to go into every session wanting to learn more and try to improve. You can either coast through it or give it the mindset that you want to learn and improve in that session. Stepping into a professional environment and playing first-team football, I think the most important thing I learnt is that you have to be confident enough to express yourself on the pitch in front of a big crowd. You always have to enjoy training, enjoying playing. That is one of the most important things for me. You don’t go through games perfectly. You can watch it back and there will be things you have done wrong. I think you can learn from every game, every decision and every touch – just analysing yourself. I have to keep striving to want more, wanting to improve. The level of the games now means you have to keep at your game every week. My mindset is on improving massively. You have to want to be a better player so I think from a young age you have to have a good attitude and want to learn and improve. You could say that separates the greats from the ordinary – that willingness to go the extra step. I’m sure all the best players want to learn and get the best information from people as possible. I think that is very important.
After a great education in the famed Southampton academy, Calum’s certainly under the tutelage of the right manager as he strives to develop his game. A little similar to another former Saints’ starlet, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I think he, and we, are yet to learn what his best long-term position will be.
Some will say playing in different roles isn’t helping his development but I think many more experienced footballers can be shown up as examples of how operating in different areas of the pitch proved beneficial in the long-run.
Personally I think Calum may be best at centre-back but if he can learn to cope with pacier opponents and continue contributing in the attacking third like he did with that exquisitely-taken goal in the FA Cup against Burnley recently, then perhaps right-back is where his future lies.
As for defensive midfield, I would say that’s the least likely of the three positions he’s been tried in so far. Either way, it’s good to know we have yet another intelligent and talented young player working hard to improve and impress at the club.