Arsene Wenger says praised the character of Mathieu Debuchy, saying he has great respect for the former French international after a difficult period of his career.
He joined the club in the summer of 2014 from Newcastle to replace Bacary Sagna, and looked to be a canny purchase but since then he’s been beset by injuries and some personal issues.
Two significant layoffs in his first campaign opened the door for Hector Bellerin to stake his claim to the right-back spot, and the Spaniard has hardly looked back since.
Debuchy asked to leave on loan so he could get game time ahead of Euro 2016, but picked up an injury while with Bordeaux. Last season he played just 16 minutes of first team football because of injury, but last night, after scoring a cracking opening goal for the Gunners in the 6-0 win over BATE Borisov, the manager gave him his backing.
Asked about a possible January move, Wenger said, “He is under contract. His future is down to his performances now and I opened the door for him many times because he didn’t play and because he has Bellerin in front of him.
“We have as well Ainsley now who can play right and left, but I consider him like anybody else and I must say I have a huge respect for his professional side and how much he did fight to come back to the top. He’s a tough, tough guy. Tough worker.
“He’s mentally strong,” he continued.
“I’ve said many times in this job you can never give up, no matter what happens for you and always be ready in case you’re needed.
“Not many can do that, but Mathieu can do that.”
Back-up to Bellerin has been a concern and it’s unclear yet as to whether Debuchy can operate as a wing-back, but in a back four he showed he can still do a job – albeit against somewhat under-par opposition.
Great hit for the goal too – see all the goals and read the match report from last night.