Arsenal boss Wenger praises Ashley Cole: Gunners star must be like him

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Kieran Gibbs can emulate former Chelsea star Ashley Cole.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Kieran Gibbs to follow Ashley Cole and raise his game.

The Englishman is already Arsenal's first choice left-back, but Gibbs is yet to establish himself for England.

Speaking to FIFA, the Arsenal boss believes the position for the Three Lions is 'open', and there are similarities between the two players he quickly identified. 

"He was a winger, midfielder, and I saw that potential didn't really come out. I saw he was intelligent and maybe I could transform him into a defender. It was a bit similar to Ashley Cole."

Wenger added that on the pitch, Ashley Cole was second to none, and believes Kieran Gibbs is getting past his injury problems which blighted his early career.

"It is a good example (for Gibbs) to follow because Ashley is top. You see stories about Ashley Cole, but on the day of a game, when it mattered and when you had to be there, he was always there. You have to respect that.

"Kieran looks to me that he's going into second gear now and he realises that he can trust his body, he can trust his talent."

Cole was a key part of Arsenal's Invincibles side of 2003/04, but left the club to sign with Chelsea two seasons later.

He now plays for Roma, helping the Italian side to a 1-1 draw at Manchester City at The Etihad on Tuesday night.

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