Calum Chambers says he could ‘grow to enjoy’ playing in the centre of the park after Unai Emery asked him to anchor Arsenal’s midfield in the second half of their 8-0 friendly win over Boreham Wood.
The Gunners, courtesy of a hat-trick by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and strikes from Reiss Nelson and Alex Lacazette, already had a five-goal advantage when the Spaniard opted to make eleven changes at half time.
Chambers sat behind Aaron Ramsey, the Jeff and Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the latter two finding the net, alongside Eddie Nketiah, to complete the rout.
After the game, the England international was asked about his new position.
“The manager spoke to me about the position,” he told Arsenal.com.
“It’s a new one for me. I played there a little bit growing up. It’s a position I feel like I can grow to enjoy and out there today I felt good, I just need to train and practice in games in that position to get comfortable.
“It’s an important position,” he added. “If you can get on the ball, turn and break their lines then it kills their press, so I think it’s an important position and anyone who’s playing in there needs to learn how to do that.
“Obviously you can’t do it all the time, you can’t take risks and when it’s not on you can bounce it backwards at an angle for someone else to play through the lines.
“But if you can get on it and you have time and it’s not a risk, turn and play forward and that’s the best way to get through a press.”
We’re not going to read too much into Chambers playing in midfield. It looks as though the decision was taken to give game time to as many players as possible and with so many centre-backs fit and available, he was deemed the most versatile to play elsewhere.
Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who came on for his debut, are far more likely to challenge Granit Xhaka for the position when the season starts.
On the game itself, Chambers added: “It’s our first game of the season and first friendly so it’s always going to be tough and conditions didn’t help either, but it was a good test for us and a good run out.
“It’s important we put into practice what we’ve been learning on the training field and I think we did that today.”
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the eleven players that started the game boarded the team bus soon after being substituted so they could get back to London Colney in time for an evening training session. It certainly appears as though the boys are being put through their paces.