In an exclusive interview with FourFourTwo, Arsenal legend Martin Keown claims that Calum Chambers’ loan move to Middlesbrough came about because Gunners new-boy Rob Holding proved to Arsene Wenger that he is more advanced than his teammate.
Holding, at 20-years-old, is a year younger than Chambers, but has looked far more assured at the heart of the Gunners defence.
Keown highlighted the pair’s performances during their opening Premier League game against Liverpool as a key reason why Chambers has left on loan:
Holding handled it well in the first match, thrown in at the deep end. You expected Chambers to have coped better because he’d been around longer, and maybe that’s why they’ve shipped him out. Maybe they feel he hasn’t developed.”
Since his move from Southampton to the Emirates in July 2014, Chambers has made only 20 Premier League starts, and there is a strong argument to suggest that the 21-year-old should have been sent out on loan last year to further aid his development.
At Middlesbrough, however, he should get the opportunity to play on a far more regular basis, and Arsenal will be hoping this will lead to improvement in his game.
There is no league in the world more physically demanding than the Championship, so Chambers will surely improve the physical aspect of his game during his time at the Riverside.
Keown went on to discuss how central defence is a highly pressurised position to play when you are a youngster, telling FourFourTwo:
“I just feel that when you’re a central defender in that position, it’s like goalkeepers – do we play young goalkeepers, do we play young central defenders? As soon as it goes wrong there’s suddenly a lot of pressure being put on those individuals.”
Chambers could make his debut for Boro on Saturday at home to Crystal Palace.