Thomas Vermaelen recently gave an interview in the Belgian press in which he talked about his deployment at left back. Some of those quotes were picked up by the UK media, The People newspaper and Sky Sports in particular, and made to look as if Vermaelen was complaining about having to play at left back.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the quotes were taken out of context. Untold Arsenal have posted a full transcript of the interview, some of the more relevant parts below.
You have been injured for a while last season and also this season. Are you back at your old level?
I feel great and play like that. But because our left backs (Santos and Gibbs) are out injured I had to play as left back in the last weeks. I think that is unfortunate but there is nothing that I can change about that.
Did you talk about it with Wenger?
Yes, but what is said between us stays between us. Everybody knows playing left back is not my preferred position.
Why do you think that despite all this you after all are a good left back?
I don’t think I am a bad left back. I do my job over there. But I am never really completely satisfied with myself after playing there. I want to get to my highest level in each game and I don’t have this as a left back. When the team wins I’m happy, but still it is a bit frustrating.
Why are you so much better as a central defender than as a left back?
Tell me why does a striker performs better in attack than in midfield? I’m just trained as a central defender.
So, essentially he’s saying that he’ll do the job for the team but doesn’t feel like he can play at his best in that position. And would any Arsenal fan argue with that?
It’s another example of how the media like to sensationalise things, and another reason why fans shouldn’t take everything at face value, especially comments made to foreign media. We know how they can be twisted to make a story seem more ‘interesting’.
And with Per Mertesacker’s injury, and the return of Kieran Gibbs to full fitness, it looks as if Vermaelen will be moving back into the centre of the defence where he feels most comfortable.
Let’s hope he’s completely satisfied after each game.