Stephan Lichtsteiner hasn’t played much football for club or country since he moved to Arsenal in the summer, but he’s not worried. He knows his time will come.
The veteran right-back, a free signing from Juventus, may have made his debut against Manchester City in the Gunners opening game of the Premier League season but since then he’s played second fiddle to Hector Bellerin.
He’s even had to take a back seat with the Swiss national team, watching from the stands last week as teammate Granit Xhaka wore his captain’s armband in the 6-0 thrashing of Iceland.
Reflecting on his situation in an interview with homeland publication Sportal, he said: “I could have changed to five other clubs in the summer, knowing that I would certainly play 47 out of 50 serious matches.
“It doesn’t irritate me, as in 2011, when I moved to Juventus, I wanted to join a big club. I was looking for a demanding challenge in a new league.
“That’s why I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin.”
In seven years at Juventus, Lichtsteiner won seven Scudettos and was a mainstay in the first eleven. He admits his change of circumstance is unusual: “It is quite unusual for me to be a substitute.
“Three games in a row [on the bench], that’s never happened to me. If you have achieved a lot in your career, you have high expectations of yourself and want to play. But I also know that I will get the chance to play games.”
While he may be 34, Lichtsteiner insists that he’ll not be retiring from international football to focus on his challenge at the Emirates. He doesn’t need to just yet, the data says so.
“For me, stepping down has never been up for debate.
He added: “If I have to admit that I can not keep the level of the last few years, then it is time. But then I will not only resign from the Swiss national team, but finish my career. Based purely on performance data I have the physicality of a 28-year-old.”
Or does that mean 29?