Arsenal defender Calum Chambers has heaped praise on Arsene Wenger as he approaches his first anniversary since joining the north London club from Southampton, saying the Gunners boss has surpassed all expectations when it comes to the positive impact he's had in regards to his ongoing development.
The 20-year-old featured much more heavily than most expected during his debut campaign at the Emirates Stadium, particularly at the start of 2014/15 when the Saints academy graduate was thrown in at the deep end with frequent first-team calls.
In 36 senior appearances for Arsenal, Chambers did enough to earn international recognition and went on to make three appearances for Roy Hodgson's senior England squad, but the youngster insists he still has plenty of room for improvement in the years that follow.
The versatile star paid tribute to Wenger for the influence he's had on improving his game over the past 12 months, and outlined his desire to repay the faith the Frenchman has shown after agreeing to pay £16 million to bring him to Arsenal.
"In a short space of time I think I have grown massively," reflected Chambers in an interview with the club's official website. "I have exceeded my expectations of what I thought I would achieve this season.
"I can only thank the coaches and the players for helping me do that and I just want to keep going, keep improving day by day to become the best player that I can be and be proud of myself.
"Playing for Arsenal is an achievement and so is playing in the Champions League and for England. I am really proud of myself and equally I want to go further and become the best player I can at Arsenal [and] I won't stop working until I get there."
On Wenger's part played in his rapid rise to senior stardom at Arsenal, Chambers intimated he wouldn't have been able to achieve what he has so far without the support and guidance of his current mentor.
"He has been fantastic to me, really supportive and he has given me a opportunity to play," he explained. "I am very grateful for what he has done.
"Everyone has expectations on things but for me he has exceeded all expectations of what I had. I can't thank him enough.
"I think he is very thoughtful in everything he does and you know he gives everyone a chance and gets the best out of all the players, which is a very good quality as well."
Chambers filled in admirably on the right side of Arsenal's defence when injury sidelined fellow summer signing Mathieu Debuchy just weeks into the campaign, but he lost his place in the team to Gunners academy product Hector Bellerin when fitness issues derailed his involvement.
However, despite his limited action in the final few months the youngster still secured his place in Gareth Southgate's Young Lions squad for this summer's European U21 Championships in the Czech Republic, although he's had to settle for a bench role as Carl Jenkinson - another player on Arsenal's books - has been preferred in the right-back spot.
Still the former Southampton man has high hopes for the season ahead after Wenger publicly stated that he sees Chambers playing as either a centre-back or in a slightly more advanced defensive midfield position in the future.
Arsenal fans: How impressed have you been with Calum Chambers after his first season in north London? Do you think he has what it takes to establish himself the Gunners senior squad? Have your say below…
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