Jamie Redknapp full of praise for Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla

The former midfielder says it is wrong to question his defensive abilities as the game is not just about tackling.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Jamie Redknapp was full of praise for Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla following the win over Watford.

The Gunners followed up their impressive 3-0 win over Manchester United before the international break with another 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road to leave them second in the table.

It was another display from Arsene Wenger’s side where the big players stepped up to secure the points, with Cazorla in particular fine former once again.

The Spaniard was key in the build up the first goal with his passing particularly impressive, and Redknapp was impressed, labelling him the best two-footed player in the country.

“Fifteen years ago if someone had said someone like Santi Cazorla at five foot five will play a central midfield role, you’d have said no chance,” he told Sky Sports.

“With the way the game is going, it’s all about athletes and strength, but he is so calm; he is without doubt the best two-footed player in the country. His passing range is exceptional.“

The former midfielder was also full of praise for the diminutive Spaniard’s newfound defensive abilities.

Cazorla’s attacking prowess is well known to everyone in the division, but he has been required to show a more defensive side to his game after Arsene Wenger moved him into central midfield.

He has excelled as well, despite many questioning whether that area of his game was strong enough for him to stay in the role long term, but Redknapp says it is not about tackling but interceptions.

“The game now is not about going into challenges and tackling,” he added.

“You see so many times Cazorla wins challenges, he doesn’t go diving in he intercepts the ball, that’s the way the modern game has gone in central midfield. I think he’s an exceptional player. There is a time where maybe you have to sacrifice him, but how can you say he can’t defend?”

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