Kieran Gibbs has shed some light on the hidden battles which take place on the Arsenal training ground and in the Emirates dressing room.
According to the left-back, the competition for starting places in Arsene Wenger's XI has benefited every player's performances this season, greatly contributing to the Gunners' recent superb run of form which has seen them win 14 of their last 16 matches.
Although the north London outfit struggled with a plethora of injuries to senior squad members earlier on this season, Gibbs believes that the return to fitness of a number of players has pushed everyone to show the best of their potential in training.
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In particular, it is the healthy competition for that starting left-back role between Gibbs and much-improved Spaniard Nacho Monreal which has pushed Gibbs to show Gunners boss Arsene Wenger why he deserves a start ahead of his teammate.
However, Gibbs insists the competition has not degenerated into a venomous and destructive atmosphere at training with the youngster particularly keen to congratulate Monreal on his recent improvements this season.
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“He’s a great guy and he’s been playing really well,” Gibbs told Arsenal Player “ He’s adapted brilliantly to playing centre back and left back. It doesn’t sound it but it’s two completely different roles. When called upon he has done that really well"
“Every player wants to play. It’s that kind of environment where it’s quite enjoyable. In January we played once a week for a bit so we had a lot of training time together"
“There’s a bit of a hidden battle going on in the dressing room about winning training games which is good and healthy. The players really enjoy it"
Not one to get discouraged easily, Gibbs insists that the competition for his favoured left-back position has motivated him to train harder and better in order to convince manager Arsene Wenger of his credentials. He is also adamant that, playing for Arsenal, increased competition for starting places are simply part and parcel of playing for a "great team".
“You should never take anything for granted playing for a club like this. You should never expect anything and nothing comes easily"
"The only way to get better is to put pressure on yourself. You have to set your own standards and that’s the best way.”