Greece centre-back lauds Arsenal talent ahead of World Cup showdown

Greek defender Kostas Manolas has praised Arsenal striker Joel Campbell ahead of this weekend’s World Cup clash between Greece and Costa Rica.

Arsenal striker Joel Campbell has been one of the stars so far at this World Cup, though his performances haven’t come as a surprise to Greek defender Manolas.

The 6ft 1in centre-back was Joel Campbell’s teammate at Olympiakos last season, where the duo helped the club win the Greek Super League as well as reach the Champions League knockout phase.

Manolas and his Greek colleagues were on the verge of World Cup exit, yet a last minute penalty from Georgios Samaras earned them an unlikely 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast and a spot in the last 16 against Campbell’s Costa Rica.

Ahead of the match, the 23-year-old lavished praise on the Arsenal striker and warned that his teammates can’t afford to give him space.

“We have an excellent relationship with Campbell. He is a friend and a really special person. He has many qualities as a player, and he is a great reference for Costa Rica. He is fast, he has great vision and is a good finisher. We have to be very wary of him and not allow him any space.” He said, quoted by the Spanish publication AS.

22-year-old Campbell joined the Gunners in 2011, though as he didn’t receive an immediate work permit, he has spent the past three seasons out on loan.

After spells at Lorient and Real Betis, Costa Rica’s star striker finally upped his development at Olympiakos – competing well in the Champions League and finding the net in a memorable performance against Manchester United.

His progression has influenced a number of Arsenal supporters to call for his return, and given his excellent performances so far at the World Cup, it’s looking increasingly likely that he will be a part of Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad next season.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch