Calum Chambers played as a right winger for Southampton youth team

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Football News

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers used to be deployed as an attacking right winger during the formative stage of his burgeoning career at Southampton, according to his former youth team coach Jason Dodd.

The Gunners starlet - who has made a name for himself as a versatile stopper, able to play on the right side and in the centre of Arsene Wenger's back four - is accustomed to being asked to operate in unfamiliar positions, because it was part an parcel of his early development on the south coast.

After making a senior breakthrough at St Mary's last season under the former tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino, Chambers secured a £16 million move to the Emirates Stadium where he has continued to impress during 34 appearances in all competitions this term.

The former Saints star has even featured in a more advanced defensive midfield role on occasion, but few Arsenal supporters would've been able to predict the young England international starring even further up the pitch, in an area that is normally occupied by stars like Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez or Danny Welbeck.

However, ex-Southampton coach Dodd - who also served the club as a right-back during his playing days - has revealed how Chambers has gained experience in a more adventurous attacking position than perhaps even the most open-minded of football experts would've anticipated.

"When he was younger, to challenge him a little bit more, we played him wide right," explained Dodd in an interview with Sky Sports. "We knew he could play in other positions but we thought, ‘OK, let’s see what he’s like with his back to goal’ just to add one or two things to his game.

"I’m not sure how Arsenal see him, but I still see him as a centre-half and he knows that he can play there."

An injury to Mathieu Debuchy early in the season presented Chambers with an opportunity to nail down a regular place in Arsenal's starting XI as right full-back, but in recent months it's another young up-and-coming star Hector Bellerin that's been preferred in that position.

The January arrival of Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal has also increased competition for places at centre-back, so the 20-year-old has been forced to wait patiently for another chance to impress in the first-team.

Bright future

However, Dodd is tipping the youngster for big things in the future and has backed him to become a regular in Wenger's line-up, at the heart of the Gunners back-line.

"He didn’t enjoy centre-half when he was younger because he wanted to get involved," he added. "Playing there is a little bit easier because there’s not so much running. But he’s a player.

"He’s a big strong boy now and can deal with things in the air. I think he will progress into a very good centre-half."

Chambers returned to the starting XI on the right side of defence for Saturday's 3-0 victory over West Ham United in the Premier League, and he'll no doubt be hoping he did enough to impress Wenger and retain his place for this week's Champions League last 16 second leg clash against AS Monaco in France.

Arsenal fans: Who would you prefer to see as Arsene Wenger's regular right-back - Calum Chambers or Hector Bellerin? Share your reasons why in the comment box below...

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Calum Chambers
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