As a man with two Premier League titles and three FA Cups to his name, not to mention status as one of Arsenal’s hallowed ‘Invincibles’, Lauren knows his onions when it comes to defending.
Converted by Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice from a midfielder into a marauding right-back, he usurped the great Lee Dixon in the early noughties and went on to make 241 appearances for the Gunners over the course of six years.
He also enjoyed a scrap, kicking the crap out of Ronaldo and scoring penalties against Spurs…all of which we at Arseblog News applaud wholeheartedly.
Now the former Cameroon international believes Hector Bellerin can be the best Arsenal right-back of them all.
“He’s good with the ball at his feet, reads the game, gets beyond defences, crosses well, plays between the lines. And he’s so young – if he stays injury-free he’ll surpass me, Lee Dixon, Pat Rice, everyone who’s played there.”
Given Dixon made 619 appearances and Rice played 528 for the Gunners, it’s a big ask. That said, the young Spaniard is already on the cusp of his century (he’s currently on 94 appearances) and he’s just signed a new contract tying him down until 2023 so it’s not impossible.
Lauren also had positive things to say about the squad as a whole and bigged up the quality of Alexis Sanchez, whose mentality he thinks would have fit nicely with the ‘Invincibles’.
“The squad is better every year; I don’t remember one this strong for a long time. In defence, we’ve signed well with Mustafi; in attack with Lucas, in midfield with Xhaka.
“I look now and it’s not just the XI; players can come on and make an impact. Iwobi, Lucas Pérez, [who] I like a lot, Oxlade. Walcott’s showing more.
He added: “Alexis [Sánchez] would fit perfectly [with the Invincibles]. Because of his talent but also his mentality.
“The club have reached the point where they should keep their best players to aspire to more. It’s been a club that sells its best for years [and] there were economic needs, but not any more.”
You can read the full interview with Ralph, here. It’s well worth 10 minutes of your time.