Chambers hungry to win Arsenal place back after year on sidelines


hen Arsenal defender Calum Chambers is asked to explain what the past year has been like, his answer is perhaps similar to most people when describing 2020.

“How long have you got? It’s been an experience and a hell of a journey,” he says.

That has been the case for many of us during this strange year, which has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is certainly true for Chambers.

“I spent two and a half months at home, with the lockdown,” he says. “So that in itself was an experience, going through an important phase of my rehab at that time, my strength phase and doing all that from home and being on FaceTime with the physios every other day.

“So it’s been a journey, one I’ve learnt from and come out stronger from for sure.”

There is never a good time for a player to be injured, but Chambers’ rupturing of his knee ligaments couldn’t have come at a worse moment.

The 25-year-old appeared to suit the Spaniard’s style of play, which encourages defenders to bring the ball out from the back to start attacks.

( Arsenal defender Calum Chambers set for Fulham medical )

That is music to Chambers’ ears, who is comfortable playing in midfielder or at right-back, but when he went down against Chelsea last December he was stopped in his tracks.

“There’s never a good time for an injury like this, but the timing was bad,” said Chambers.

“We all love the philosophy and the way he coaches and the way he wants to play. He wants ball-playing centre-halves and that’s what I see myself as.

“So I like to think I fit into his plans. As I said before, it’s a case of me being patient and getting back to the level I was at before. And every opportunity I get given, just give it 100 per cent and do the best I can.”

Chambers should get a chance to shine against Dundalk in the Europa League on Thursday. Arsenal are already confirmed as Group B winners and the match is a chance for youngsters, and those who need minutes, to get some action.

( Arsenal’s interim coach Freddie Ljungberg talks to Calum Chambers during the 2-2 draw / Arsenal FC via Getty Images )

Chambers is one of those, with Arsenal keen not to rush the 25-year-old back too quickly given his serious injury.

He is returning into what is a crowded squad, with eight centre-backs on the books, but Chambers is adamant he can earn his spot back.

“I always had faith that I could come back and play at this level,” he says.

“At the start, this injury is the biggest one I’ve had, and a lot changes in your life at the start. It’s a very slow process from the start onwards and you’ve just got to be patient, have faith in the process, keep doing what the physios tell you.

“Towards the end of it and the stage I am now you see the rewards from the patience and hard work at the start.

“You are back out on the pitch, training every day and playing. Now it’s about little steps, building and building and building, being patient but knowing the fact you will get back to where you were before.”

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