Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has faith in under-fire defender Calum Chambers

Arsene Wenger has said that he considered replacing Calum Chambers in Arsenal's goalless draw against Liverpool and revealed that the England defender is struggling with confidence.

Chambers made an impressive start to his Arsenal career following his £16million switch from Southampton last summer.

But after being substituted in Arsenal's defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day, the 20-year-old made only three Premier League starts for the remainder of the season.

And he appeared to struggle in Arsenal's goalless draw against Liverpool on Monday night after forming a makeshift central defensive partnership with Gabriel.

"He has lost a bit of confidence compared to the player he was last year," said Wenger ahead of his side's trip to Newcastle on Saturday.

"I don't think it will have killed him to replace him. I did not sub him as I wanted to save my offensive options.

"It gave him time to recover. I looked at how he started again, and if he does not get better I sub him then - you want to win the game and not think too much individually about the player - but he recovered quite well in the second half."

Chambers was called up by England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate for the woeful European Championship campaign.

But the defender failed to feature, and Wenger believes that may have knocked his self-belief.

"Maybe not playing too much, and the under-21 tournament did not help him on that front as he did not play at all, but I think he will be a very good player," Wenger said.

"I have spoken to him and he's a strong boy, a dedicated player who loves football, is ready to work day and night and he has the talent. He will be good player."

Wenger added: "We want to play out from the back so the players go into the game and they do that.

"Once they lose the ball, they think they have to continue to play out from the back. That's where the more experienced players maybe should have said 'You can see that he is having trouble, let's push forward so he can kick the ball into the opponent's half and play off (Olivier) Giroud'."

"That is what I told them to do, but by the time they realised that on the pitch we were already in trouble."

Wenger will make a late call on whether Chambers will start at St James' Park. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny both missed the game against Liverpool and remain a doubt for Saturday's lunch-time clash.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph