Arsene Wenger has hit out at England manager Roy Hodgson over his decision to fast-track Calum Chambers to the senior Three Lions squad after suggesting that the early call-up risked ruining the Arsenal starlet's burgeoning career.
The Gunners boss reckons the 20-year-old defender is too young and inexperienced to receive international recognition at this stage of his development and called for patience from those expecting too much too soon from the £16 million summer signing from Southampton.
Wenger still has high hopes for Chambers in the future, but is erring on the side of caution in what has been a stop-start debut campaign at the Emirates Stadium.
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Speaking about the Saints academy product's rapid rise on the England scene, the French tactician made clear his feelings that the player should've been given more time to mature in the U21s.
Chambers had not even featured for Gareth Southgate's side when he made his senior bow as a substitute in a friendly against Norway back in September.
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A month later he was starting European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia and the Arsenal chief can't help but think it's all come a little too soon for the versatile stopper.
“It was a bit early," he was quoted saying by The Sun. "You remember that he had a difficult time in our game at Swansea. Now imagine that happens to him with England in a big game.
“It’s terrible afterwards. You carry that with you your whole life. You have to be equipped to deal with that pressure.
“Calum’s call-up was not unhelpful. It shows him that if you do well then you are rewarded. But he was not completely there experience-wise to deal with that.”
Chambers was on the receiving end of criticism from some supporters following a disappointing display against Swansea City back in November, after he was given the run-around by fleet-footed winger Jefferson Montero during the 2-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium.
“It was tough for Calum in the first game against Montero, especially in the final part of the game," reflected Wenger. “He’s a tall guy, he played against a small guy, very tricky, very quick and it was a confrontation of styles as well.
“Swansea did teach him. He’s an intelligent boy, he thinks about his game afterwards - how he could have blocked him better, how he could have stopped the crosses and to read the game of your opponent is an important part for a defender.”
Arsenal face the Swans again in the Premier League this evening knowing that victory in north London will move them back level on points with second-placed Manchester City, and with a game in hand.
The Gunners are on course to claim that runner-up spot behind newly crowned champions Chelsea, which will be impressive when you consider the club's disappointing start to the 2014/15 campaign.
After that they'll have the FA Cup final to look forward to against Aston Villa at Wembley later in May, presenting Wenger's side with an opportunity to at least finish the season with some silverware.
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