Arsenal left-back Andre Santos said his rivalry with Kieran Gibbs has made him a better player and he his relishing the challenge of breaking into the first team.
The Brazil international joined the Gunners near the close of the summer transfer window last season and enjoyed significant playing time last season as Arsene Wenger chose to switch between the two.
However, this season the Arsenal boss has preferred the Englishman in the berth, but the 29-year-old does not disgruntle Gibbs his playing time, and is happy to work harder in order to make Wenger’s decisions more difficult.
"Of course it does," Santos told the official Arsenal website when asked if the rivalry had helped both him and Gibbs.
“In life you always find competition and this competition exists but it is only on the pitch and this is good for the team.
“Kieran is an exceptional player, and I know I have qualities too. This is a very healthy competition, we're always talking about it between us before and after training.
“Kieran is a good friend and I respect the hard work he puts in every day and I know he feels the same way about me.”
Santos now has a chance to stake his claim for a regular spot, as Gibbs has been ruled out for the next two weeks after picking up a thigh injury in the win over West Ham two weeks ago.
Wenger’s side travel to Norwich City and Carrow Road on Saturday and an evening kick-off for their next clash, where they will be hoping to get their second away win in a row in the Premier League.