In a mere three months since leaving Southampton to join Arsenal, Calum Chambers managed not only to make his competitive debut for the club in the Community Shield, but also made his Champions League debut as well as grabbing a first senior England cap. Taking everybody by surprise, even the player himself was shocked by his sharp rise to stardom.
Joining in a deal thought to be worth in the region of £16million from the saints last summer, he was initially brought in on the premise of being of a back-up player for the first team who would get his chances to play in the domestic cup matches. However, following successive injuries to first-team defenders Per Mertesacker, and Mathieu Debuchy early in the season he was immediately called upon.
Starting in the community shield match versus Manchester City to cover for the absence of Mertesacker, Chambers then gained his first Premier League start for Arsenal the following week before a solid run of games also saw him appear in the Champions League qualifying matches against Besiktas and for England in a home friendly against Norway.
Speaking to the Arsenal website Chambers conceded his rise into a first-team regular was beyond his wildest dreams but paid thanks to those who helped him achieve his magnificent feat.
He said: “In a short space of time I think I have grown massively, 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. I won’t stop working until I get there.”
Following a successful debut Premier League season with Southampton in 2013-14 the 20-year-old easily could have stayed remained at the south coast club where he was already a regular starter in the first-team, though he revealed that the opportunity of working with Arsene Wenger was one that couldn't be turned down and praised his managerial qualities.
“He has been fantastic to me, really supportive and he has given me a opportunity to play,” said Chambers.
“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.”
Despite featuring less frequently towards the end of last season when normal service was resumed, Chambers nevertheless has a positive experience from his first season in north-London and a platform from which to build upon for seasons to come. Hopefully a solid pre-season will see him return to the fold before too long.
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