Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos thinks Konstantinos Mavropanos can become a much better defender than him, and he says the 21-year-old should aim higher than that.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 25: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal applauds fans after the match during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Sporting CP and Arsenal at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 25, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
LISBON, PORTUGAL – OCTOBER 25: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal applauds fans after the match during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Sporting CP and Arsenal at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 25, 2018, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Mavropanos suffered an unfortunate injury just as his first season under Unai Emery was about to begin, which ended up keeping him out until late January. Now he’s back and available, playing 11 minutes for the first team against Manchester City before completing his rehabilitation with 90 minutes and a clean sheet for the u23s last Friday.

Since they’re both Greek and they both play for Arsenal, there have already been comparisons drawn between Mavropanos and Sokratis. However, the former Dortmund man thinks his compatriot has the potential to be even better than him.

“Dinos (Mavropanos) can become much better than me and it will be bad for him to have Papastathopoulos as a ceiling,” Sokratis said (via Chris Wheatley). “I am telling you that Mavropanos has all the assets to become better than Papastathopoulos.”

Sokratis has probably been Arsenal’s best performing centre-back this season, at least when he’s been able to stay fit. If Mavropanos can emulate and improve upon that kind of form over the next five or 10 years, it’ll be great news for The Gunners.

Of course, you don’t want to put too much pressure on a player at such an early stage in his career. Mavropanos has still only appeared in four competitive matches for Arsenal so far, and it remains to be seen how he’ll perform when he gets a longer run of games.

The early signs are good though. The defender already has a strong physical presence, and he passes the ball around as impressively as you’d expect from a senior Arsenal star. His defending is harder to judge in the small sample size we have so far, but the u23s’ defence has certainly improved significantly with him in it.

Let’s hope he takes his chance when he gets first-team starts again.

Previous articleEpisode 183: Questions being asked
Next articleUnai Emery to make 4 changes: Predicted Arsenal lineup vs BATE Borisov
Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.