20 Defender Arsenal England
In 2014 everything was coming up Milhouse for Calum Chambers; a big move, first team football, wide spread praise for his maturity on the ball and three full England caps to top off a superb twelve months. While he obviously had a lot to learn he was looking like the real deal. Before John Stones was John Stones Calum Chambers was Calum Chambers, and we were excited.
2015 has been…
…all a bit underwhelming.
Arsenal find themselves in the position of having an excellent right-back and a very good central defensive pairing with adequate cover for each, therefore blocking Chambers’ natural paths to the first team. A couple of high profile performances further chipped away at his reputation, including a Monday night game against Liverpool where he struggled and briefly became a Twitter superstar for all the wrong reasons.
Internationally he’s dropped out of the full squad and moved back to the U21s and it’s been a year where his peers have been moved to defend rather than praise him. Both of his managers, Arsene Wenger and Gareth Southgate, have been public in their support and we’re still sure there’s a very good defender there, but at the time of writing less than 200 minutes on the pitch in all competitions this season tells a story.
We can’t help but feel he’s become a victim of circumstance and been a bit unlucky. He may have our sympathies but that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Not quite crunch time yet but valid questions being asked and it’s up to him to provide the answers.
He needs to play, young defenders need confidence and it’s very difficult to get that on a substitute’s bench or a training pitch. There is talk he might be tried as a defensive midfielder and while he’s good enough on the ball and has the requisite defensive capabilities, we’re not 100% convinced longer term this is his future.
Playing in midfield would prove his versatility but this is a young footballer everyone thought was going to be an excellent centre-back, who then looked equally good at full-back when required, and now might do a job in front in the back four. There’s an expression that comes to mind about being a Jack of all trades and we feel there needs to be an extended period in one position to get back to showing that vast potential.
So all is far from lost, but this has been a trying year. Come the season’s end Roy Hodgson’s picking a squad to go to the Euros that at one point looked sure to feature Chambers. If he ends the season still struggling for game time it may be time to change something, even if it’s just for a season by virtue of a loan, to get back the sparkle.
D Has undeniably gone backwards, needs to play first team football and that may mean looking at his options in the summer if he ends the season still on the sub’s bench
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