by Nia Griffiths
Monday night saw the launch of our new home kit for next season and we were lucky enough to have our own Matthew Wade attend the event.
Speaking before the launch itself, Nacho Monreal was forthcoming, honest and open with his responses to questions.
The full-back recently spoke about playing at centre-back originally. On whether this has perhaps helped him in his current position, he said, “I am not sure if I was a better left back after playing centre-back, because during my whole career I played left back. This is my natural position – not centre back. This was the first time I played centre-back, this season!
Before I never played there, so as you can imagine, it was something difficult for me, because the boss told me “Nacho, you need to play centre-back”- I was scared! Really! I was like ” Are you speaking seriously?”, because before I had never played there. I remember the first two games it was difficult for me because it is such a different position.
He continued, “You run less, but it is more in the mind. You have to be more focused. You can’t make any mistakes because if you make a mistake it’s a goal, probably. So it was difficult, but the best thing about playing centre back was that I was playing for 10 games so after(wards) I was completely fit. So when the boss told me “Nacho, you go to play left back”, I was ready to play – It wasn’t starting from the bottom again.
“I felt strong, and confident because I was playing all the games, and after the rest of the season I played left-back where I had played previously in my career, and it was a good season for me. Not like two seasons ago because I didn’t play and I didn’t feel good.”
The 29-year-old has had a huge season. He’s cemented himself in a first team ahead of Kieran Gibbs – something not many could’ve predicted when we originally bought him – and many would consider him our most improved player.
He proceeded to elaborate on why he might’ve found it hard to break into the first team originally. He believes it was down to lack of playing time, something he’s now had in abundance.
“My problem is, I am a player who needs to play every single game,” the defender said. “For example, there are some players who play two games, after don’t play for two or three games, and after come back and they are completely fit, strong in their mind – that is not my case. I need to play every single game. And two seasons ago, it wasn’t like that.
“I am not saying that it was the bosses fault, because Kieran Gibbs was playing amazing and it was up to the boss to decide. There are two players, he has to decide for one or the other player. At this moment, he was playing really well, and the boss decided that he was to play.”
It’s incredibly refreshing to hear such honesty from a player who clearly appreciates where he is but knows it was no one else’s fault that he wasn’t there in the first place.