Goalscoring hero prefers to build his Arsenal career as a central defender
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Calum Chambers sees his long-term future in central defence – although he admits a continued role at right-back is more likely to enhance his goal tally.
The 21-year-old England international, who has featured as a defensive midfielder in recent games, was drafted into the Arsenal side at full-back for their FA Cup tie against Burnley.
Chambers responded by netting the Gunners’ opening goal, an eye-catching finish with the outside of his right boot, in the 2-1 victory that secured their place in the last 16 of the competition.
Shortly before that 19th-minute strike, the youngster had sent another effort crashing towards goal, only for Clarets defender Michael Keane to charge it down – and he is aiming to appear on the scoresheet more often.
Coincidentally, the only other goal of the versatile youngster’s career came in Burnley’s previous visit to Emirates Stadium, a 3-0 defeat in the Premier League last season.
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“I found myself on the edge [of the penalty area] when the ball dropped to me the first time and I had a shot – I thought I caught it well, actually,” Chambers reflected.
“And for the second I managed to get myself in the box and I enjoyed watching that go in the back of the net. That’s one of the ones you do in training – it fell to me and I thought ‘why not?’
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“Obviously I had my shooting boots on! It depends what positions you find yourself in – when I play in midfield I’m in a situation where I’ve got to hold my position and focus more defensively.
“As a full-back you’ve got licence to get forward more so there might be more opportunities to score from there. If you can play in different positions I think it benefits you.
“It gives you the opportunity to play more games and you know better where you want the ball, depending on your position. I still see myself as a centre-back – maybe a central midfielder but I’d like to be a centre-back.”
Chambers made the majority of his early outings for the Gunners as a right-back after he joined the club in the summer of 2014, but he has been in and out of the side since then.
And the former Southampton star, who has also won three senior caps for England, is content to continue developing his skills on the fringes of the squad for the time being.
“I’m pleased with the way it’s gone,” he added. “I’m learning in the background, if you like – I’m getting on in a few games and I feel I’m learning in training, watching other players in my positions.
“I’m just concentrating on getting games and training hard, trying to make myself stronger and get in the squad and the team. You’ve got to stay focused.
“When you don’t play you take it on the chin, watch the games and support the boys – that’s what you have to do. There’s a great vibe in the squad and the team spirit is strong.”
Chambers has now made more than 50 appearances for Arsenal, although he missed out on the second of the club’s successive FA Cup victories last May, when they hammered Aston Villa 4-0 in the final.
The Gunners – who have been drawn at home yet again in the fifth round, against Championship leaders Hull City – are now moving closer to what would be an incredible hat-trick of FA Cup triumphs, last achieved in the 19th century.
“Obviously that’s at the back of people’s minds but we try not to think about it – we look at it game by game,” said Chambers.
“I think that’s been the key for the last couple of years and now we’re through to the next round.”