October 21 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Five-day forecast

All Guns Blazing: Calum Chambers should be shielded before England hype begins

Calum Chambers of Arsenal Calum Chambers of Arsenal

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
1:34 PM

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti asks why key positions still haven’t been filled after two years, and why Calum Chambers could be the bargain of the summer

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

While waiting for Arsenal vs Crystal Palace to start at the weekend, I found myself watching some of the build-up on Sky’s Saturday Night Football show.

It’s a pretty strange concept: they make the effort to invite a studio audience in to watch, erm, pundits – only to steadfastly ignore them for the duration like they’re ugly kids at a party. It was even more unsettling, however, when I found myself agreeing with the warbling diatribes of Jamie Carragher.

I’m loath to pay much attention to our performances over two games – we’re clearly still working our way back to full strength and match fitness, and we’ve gained decent results.

Yet the Liverpudlian did raise a fair point when he questioned the ‘spine’ of Arsenal’s starting XI. Compared to the quality running through the centre of Manchester City and Chelsea’s squads, our lack of a definitive defensive midfielder is still as noticeable as it was a year or two ago.

While hopefully we’ll do more business before the window closes, the manager’s appointment of Mikel Arteta as captain and hesitancy to play Alexis Sanchez through the middle suggests he’s once again choosing to stick and not twist. I’m a fan of every player brought in so far, but our inability to strengthen those key positions all feels a bit Groundhog Day.

On a more positive note, Calum Chambers looks like he could be the bargain of the summer. I’d put money on him looking a better player than Luke Shaw as time goes on; even with the best defenders, composure usually comes through age, not raw talent and he looks remarkably complete for a 19-year-old.

I’ve seen the Daily Mail et al have already started campaigning to get him an England call-up. Some people never learn.

He could well be a better option than anyone England have at right-back, centre-half or defensive midfield (such versatility will be useful), but I’m more of the Roberto Martinez school of thought.

When asked about the possibility of a Ross Barkley call-up last season, the Spanish manager suggested that young players ought to play around 50 games before representing their country – a sensible idea, surely?

Hopefully with Per Mertesacker back and – fingers crossed – one more centre-back to come in, Chambers will be allowed to find his feet before the England hype machine elevates him to near-impossible levels.

Follow me @alexbellotti

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Local Search 24
Looking for a:
Location:
Search radius:
Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »