Mikel Arteta says Takehiro Tomiyasu is so comfortable using his left foot that the Japan international could play anywhere along the Arsenal backline.
Sidelined for much of the year, the 22-year-old made his long-awaited comeback in the closing stages of Sunday’s 3-1 win over Manchester United and is now in contention for a first start since January when the Gunners face West Ham on Sunday.
Having impressed in the first half of the season, it’s hoped the defender will help restore some stability following some rickety showings in recent weeks. His ability to break the press with his two-footedness also stands to be an advantage going forward.
Asked whether Tomiyasu’s ability with his weaker foot had come as a surprise, Arteta said:
“When we follow the player and we identify him as one of the candidates, obviously it one of the things that I came across and it gives you a lot of solutions.
“Not only because he can use both feet, but he can play right centre-back, left centre-back, he can play left-back so that gives you enormous variability and it’s the way they’ve been raised and coached since a really young age, that’s what he says so for him, left and right is the same.”
So impressed has Arteta been by Tomiyasu’s two-footedness that he quizzed the player on how he’d been trained as a youngster.
“Yes, I asked him how he’s been coached, it’s always very interesting things that we can take on board and get involved and implement in our club, because it’s such a beneficial thing, so it’s important to understand other coaches and other ways of coaching.”