Francis Coquelin has revealed that he has been playing at centre-half in Arsenal training during the club’s current injury crisis.
The Gunners face a dilemma this summer after Per Mertesacker was confirmed to be out for “some months” by manager Arsene Wenger on Wednesday.
The German suffered a knee injury in pre-season, and his absence, combined with that of the rested Laurent Koscielny and the ill Gabriel, leaves the club short of options at the back.
“We have to look for an option to get a bit more experience,” said Wenger.
“We will see some of our young centre backs on Thursday as well. With Per being out, we are a bit short on the experience front and we are looking to bring somebody in.”
Mertesacker’s injury leaves Calum Chambers new boy Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal as the current alternatives with the start of the Premier League little over a fortnight away
Speaking to Arsenal’s official Snapchat account on Wednesday, 5ft 8in midfielder Coquelin confirmed that he has been training in defence.
— Arsène's Son (@hughwizzy) July 27, 2016
Asked what he had been doing today, Coquelin appeared to say: “I’ve been playing centre-back and I’ve been bossing it, if you know what I mean?”
The Frenchman made more tackles per game than any other Arsenal player with more than five league appearances last season (2.8). Only Laurent Koscielny (3.9) made more interceptions than his compatriot (2.8). He didn’t make many clearances, mind – 0.8 per game.