Arsene Wenger says he rates Konstantinos Mavropanos’ raw defensive ability highly, and now just wants to see how the defender performs against English opposition.
Wenger spoke to Arsenal.com about the centre-back, and seemed to think he has all the right ingredients. He explained what he’d seen of the defender in training, and what he’s hoping to see in the future.
“He looked comfortable technically,” the manager revealed. “He looks very mobile as a defender and he looks very pacy and strong in all aspects of defending.
“What I don’t know yet is how well he’ll cope with pressure, how much his lack of experience will be detrimental to his performances. We will see [how he copes with that] in the games.
“I haven’t seen him play in England against an English team yet. I have to see that. Personally, I am encouraged by what I’ve seen and I’ve decided to keep him until May.
“He looks like an intelligent boy as well. So let’s hope he will develop into a great player in the future for Greece.”
All that will be put to the test when Mavropanos starts for the u23s this evening. It won’t be at the same level as Premier League action, but it’s still the 20-year-old’s chance to prove himself.
If he does well, I can’t see anything stopping him getting chances in the first-team. He’s young, but so were Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin when they made their Arsenal debuts.
Wenger started all four of them in defence at the weekend, so he’s clearly willing to take chances on players. Plus, Mavropanos clearly has a lot of respect from the manager, which should be a big help.
The January signing sat on the bench for the first leg of Arsenal’s League Cup semi-final – not bad for a player who Wenger said would go on loan less than two weeks ago.