Debuchy back from cold as auxiliary centre-back

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Mathieu Debuchy could carve a role for himself at centre-back after the Frenchman impressed as part of a back three on his return from injury.

The 32-year-old joined Arsenal as a right-back in 2014, but has made just 25 appearances across all competitions after being plagued by injuries.

Debuchy made his first appearance since November last year during last month's 1-0 win at Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League and played 120 minutes in last week's League Cup victory over Norwich. Arsenal host Red Star today.

"We are all very pleased for him here because he has gone through some very difficult moments with setbacks," Wenger was quoted as saying in the Evening Standard. "The fact that he got through 120 minutes the other night is a huge boost for him. He needs to recover now but from now on, he'll be a candidate to fight for the team again.

"Maybe his future is as a centre-back. He has the attributes because he's very good in the air. You think he couldn't play centre-back because he's not tall, but if you look at the number of balls he wins in the air, it's impressive."

Arsenal have made a perfect start to their Europa League campaign with three straight wins and can secure a place in the knockout phase with two Group H games to spare with a win.

With a big Premier League game against leaders Manchester City on Sunday, Wenger will continue to field a different team in Europe.

"Both of the teams do well, even in training when they play against each other," the Frenchman told a press conference yesterday. "I have a rotation policy and I want to stick with that as I am pleased with our performances."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Debuchy back from cold as auxiliary centre-back'. Print Edition | Subscribe