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

13:34 20 August 2014

Calum Chambers of Arsenal

Calum Chambers of Arsenal

PA Archive/Press Association Images

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

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


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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.

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

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 12:00

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell is one fight away from a national title after his victory in the semi-finals of the England Boxing Development Championship.

Yesterday, 10:00

The newly-formed Camden & Islington Girls League kicked off on Friday as six teams got the competition up and running at Market Road.

Wed, 16:20

Highgate Harriers’ quartet of runners held off heavyweight opposition to clinch a surprise victory in the Southern Senior Relay Championships at Wormwood Scrubs.

Wed, 16:04

Paul Rattigan grabbed four goals as Boston Celtics racked up a 7-0 win against Boundary Estate in the Jack Morgan Cup.

Wed, 15:56

Middlesex’s title-winning squad gained the royal seal of approval when they were presented with the County Championship trophy at Buckingham Palace.

Wed, 07:01

A tale of two penalties decided the Islington Primary Schools’ Years 3-4 Boys’ Cup final as St Joan of Arc emerged victorious.

Mon, 13:01

Arsene Wenger turned 67 on Saturday, but his team failed to give him the birthday present he coveted most – three points against Middlesbrough.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now