Nacho Monreal has said that he was scared when Arsene Wenger first asked him to play at centre back.

The Spanish defender was urged by Wenger to adapt to a position as a left sided centre half at times last season, covering with other defensive players injured.

He showed maturity and backed himself in the role, but was initially sceptical when the request came in from the Frenchman.

“When the boss told me, ‘Nacho, you’re going to play like centre-back,’ I was scared! I was like, ‘Are you speaking seriously?’” he said.

“I remember the first two games was difficult for me. In the middle you run less but it’s more in the mind. You have to be more focused. You can’t make any mistakes.”

Monreal certainly has the characteristics to play more at centre back and it will be interesting to see if that’s where Wenger wants to use him long term, when he starts to get a bit older.

He’s got a great burst of speed, unsurprising for a full-back, and reads the game well, but for now he’s more effective in a wider position.

What’s encouraging is that he has the professionalism to be a versatile player, when other individuals may have thrown their toys out of the pram at being asked to play a role they are less familiar with.

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are backed up well by winter signing Gabriel, with the possibility that Wenger could draft in further defensive players this summer. Calum Chambers is also someone who can play on the right side of central defence, so the options for the boss are numerous.

For now, Wenger has no need to ask Monreal to play centrally in defence in the near future, unless the gunners  are unfortunate with injuries.....


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