Arsene talks Gibbs, Walcott , Diaby and Ramsey
Arsene talks Gibbs, Walcott, Diaby and Ramsey

Arsene Wenger believes that Kieran Gibbs can challenge Leighton Baines, and earn the starting left-back spot in the England team.

“He gives [Baines] a good fight there,” the Arsenal manager said. “He’s younger so I think he should go into this battle with a lot of belief and I think the best way to achieve it is to carry on with these performances.

“He is consistent, determined – he has gained something in his stature, in his confidence. I like the way that he is more determined in fights, not just because he scored his goal, and more confident on the ball.

“He has all the attributes you want to have when you’re a left back – he’s quick, agile, has good technique and he’s intelligent as well. He has all you want to be a fantastic left back.”

Arsene Wenger has praised Theo Walcott’s attitude during his nine-month injury rehabilitation.

“He had a very difficult time,” said Wenger. “He’s a very polite and social guy, but behind that, he’s mentally strong as well.

“For what he has gone through in the last nine months, you gain even more respect for him, because he had some difficult times and always responded very positively. He’s got a young baby, where they had some problems, but he has done extremely well.”

Wenger also spoke about the continuing injury problems of Abou Diaby.

“He is not in the squad because he has a small calf problem,” explained Wenger. “He has little injuries at the moment, never anything bad, but he has been out for such a long time that when he plays it takes him a long time to recover.

“It’s much worse for Abou because Theo has not gone through so many injuries. You wonder where Abou gets the strength back to come back and work harder and harder and harder.

“When you arrive in the morning he’s already in the gym to prepare. He has done extremely well – you cannot fault his attitude at all. You can only admire him for that. He is always in my mind. His first injury at Sunderland in the last-minute – that was a huge blow in his career.”

Arsene also believes that Aaron Ramsey will return refreshed from his recent injury lay-off.

“He had a good rest,” said the manager. “Now we expect him to produce his performances that he produced last season. I think he is there and that will come naturally.”