Kieran Gibbs says fighting with Nacho Monreal for a place in Arsenal’s starting lineup underlines the strength in depth at the disposal of manager Arsene Wenger.
The England international and his Spanish teammate have made 22 and 24 starting appearances respectively this season with Monreal already surpassing last year’s total after a stint as an auxiliary centre back earlier in the season.
Reasserting that he has no problem competing for the elft back slot, Gibbs also outlined that the Gunners have the quality across to cope with a three-pronged attack on the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
“It is probably the first time it has been like this for a while,” said the 25-year-old after an eye-catching showing against Middlesbrough.
“It has been easier (to get selected) in the past. Now, when you keep everyone fit for a while, obviously you can only fit 11 men on the pitch.
“We need a big squad and we certainly have the squad to compete on three fronts at the moment.
“And we are hungry to defend the (FA Cup) trophy. We are not just going to think that, because we won it last year, it is not in our priorities, because all three competitions are.
“I have to be patient before I play and just take my opportunities. We spoke the other week and the boss just said that, since I came back from my injury, Nacho (Monreal) has done well and given me a good challenge.
“He wants me to stay focused and, the more both of us are on the top of our games, the better it is for the team.”
A very mature outlook for Gibbs that builds on comments he made last week about the ‘privilege’ associated with playing for a club as prestigious as Arsenal. He looked very sharp yesterday, providing an attacking threat that pinned Boro back throughout the first half.
When you consider some of the players who’ve provided back up at left back in the last decade it’s a real bonus to have such reliable figures competing for regular football. Long may it continue.