Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said that he deserves credit for his decision to play natural left-back Nacho Monreal at centre-back this season.
The Spanish international joined the Gunners from La Liga outfit Malaga in the January 2013 transfer window and immediately nailed down the left-back spot for the first six months of his stay in North London.
The progress of England international Kieran Gibbs last season, however, saw Monreal sit out a number of matches, prompting rumours of a return to Spain with Athletic Bilbao in the summer.
Despite heavy speculation, a move to the Basque outfit never materialised and Monreal has since become the beneficiary of an unfortunate injury crisis for the Emirates outfit.
A number of defenders such as Matheiu Debuchy, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs have spent time in the treatment room causing Wenger to shuffle his pack.
Monreal has been drafted in the starting XI at centre-back and has played there over the past month to a mixture of results.
In spite of recent criticism, Wenger has insisted that the Spaniard has adapted well, while also stating that credit deserves to go his way for forecasting Monreal’s ability to perform at the heart of the defence.
"He is playing very well, he doesn't get enough credit for the quality of his performances because against Manchester United, against Dortmund, he was in the top three for me with the quality of his performance,” he is quoted as saying by The Mirror.
"You have to give me some credit because I've seen that he can play there. I tested him before the season started at the Emirates tournament and I could see that he understands well, he reads well, the game. It's the most important quality in this position.
"Of course, after that there is the question mark 'Can he cope with the physicality of this job?' because he is not a major frame but game by game, he becomes more aggressive because he understands the game, he can get in front of people. That is a very important quality.
"He is committed. He has an excellent mentality, excellent attitude, top class, I must say every day focused, doesn't talk too much and does his job."