Arsene Wenger believes Kieran Gibbs is more than capable of regaining his status as Arsenal’s first choice left back having slipped behind Nacho Monreal in the pecking order.
The England international, who has made 183 competitive appearances since his Gunners’ debut in 2007, is expected to make a second start of the season against Sp*rs this evening having racked up just 105 minutes on the pitch in three other appearances.
Backing the 25-year-old to bounce back from the disappointment of being a regular on the bench, the boss told Arsenal Player:
“For me Kieran is a great player with a fantastic potential and he was in front of Nacho for long periods, but now is a bit behind in the pecking order.
“He can make that up again because he has a huge amount of talent. He can get in front of him again. This is one of the opportunities that he has to show that.
“The players’ job is to be motivated,” noted Wenger on whether he finds it tough keeping his squad happy.
“I have a decision to make with who I pick and who I don’t pick. On the other hand, if I go into a season with only one left back everybody will say that it’s not responsible. To be in a big club today you have to cope with that.
“If you think that the club plays 60 games, everybody gets their fair share of games. The most important [thing] is that they are at the level and there’s a fair competition. I try to be fair.
“At the end of the day I can only play one, but the most important thing is that they are both at the level to play for Arsenal. Both are huge players and that is what we want.”
In other news, Alex Iwobi – who could also feature in the Capital One Cup at White Hart Lane – has been received his first senior call up from Nigeria after FIFA granted clearance for the winger to play for the country of his birth despite England appearances at youth level.
The winger impressed Super Eagles’ coach Sunday Oliseh with his pre-season appearances for Arsenal and will be part of his squad for upcoming friendly games with Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Both games will be played in Belgium in October.