Nacho Monreal has had to play out of position many times this season.
The Spanish full-back has already made 23 appearances this term, and he has told the Standard that he has no problem with some of those games coming as a centre-half.
Monreal looks set to enjoy his best season as a Gunner this term, and he has been afforded a key role in Arsene Wenger’s first-team plans. However, that has come at the left-back’s expense, when he was asked to fill in the central role during Laurent Koscielny’s long-term injury.
The Spain international made nine appearances in the heart of the back line, and impressed during them. While still a natural full-back, his reading of the game and athletic ability allowed him to both prevent mistakes, as well as make up for any which he caused. With his pace he acted as a perfect partner for the slow Per Mertesacker, and it would come as no surprise to see Wenger utilise Monreal in the centre again should he be needed.
Not only has this allowed Monreal more chances to play, but it has shown an increased confidence in him from Wenger, who could have looked at moving Calum Chambers into the centre instead. Gabriel Paulista arrived in the January transfer window, allowing Monreal to return to his natural left-sided position, and the Spaniard has admitted that he had no problem playing in the centre, even if he does prefer the left of defence.
Speaking to the Standard, Monreal said: “This season I have played more games than last season but I think last season when I didn’t play enough, I didn’t play really well. This season, the boss has shown more confidence in me and I am always very happy that I can help the team and try to play as well as possible.
“I prefer to play at left-back but you never know - at the beginning of the season we only had two centre-backs. Laurent was injured for a long time and I had to play at centre-back. It was a new experience for me but always the most important thing is to play so I am very happy when I play left-back or centre-back.”