Joel Campbell thinks he deserved to play more for Arsenal

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It wasn't just Jack Wilshere that was involved in a somewhat surprising loan move away from Arsenal this summer.

A few weeks before the England midfielder departed to spend the season in Bournemouth, Joel Campbell, to the surprise of a lot of Gooners, was loaned out to Sporting Lisbon.

It is the Costa Rica star's fifth loan away from the Emirates but, after making an impression on the first team last season, it is his most surprising move by far. Reflecting on how he has ended up in Portugal, Campbell himself admitted he feels a little hard done by.

Speaking in comments reported by Portuguese publication A Bola, the winger certainly didn't sound like someone who was expecting to be playing his football away from north London this year.


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“I think I deserved to play more after what I did last year," he said before describing the latest chapter of his career as "a new stage".

"I feel good, happy, this is a new experience.”

While Campbell might be trying to put a brave face on his loan move to Lisbon, it is clear that he believes he could, and perhaps should, have played an important role for Arsene Wenger in the 2016-17 campaign.

At the time his move was announced, there were certainly plenty of Gunners who were more than a little perplexed that one of the more consistent players from last season wasn't going to feature at all for the first team.

After finally making his Arsenal debut in the 2014-15 season, last year was by far Campbell's most productive for the club he joined in 2011.

The 24-year-old scored three goals in 19 Premier League appearances and added one more in cup competitions.

However, with Theo Walcott moving back to his more customary position out wide after a failed stint as a striker, and with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming into form in the pre-season, Wenger clearly didn't feel he needed Campbell in the immediate future.

Only time will tell whether his long-term future lies at Arsenal, but his move to Lisbon certainly looks like a big blow in that regard.

And it is clearly something that irks Campbell a little even now, as he tries to work out just why things haven't quite worked out at his parent club.

What is certain, though, is that should Arsenal suffer any injuries to their starting wingers, it won't take long for Wenger to come in for criticism for letting Campbell leave for the season.

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