Former Arsenal player Ian Wright has leapt to the defence of Albert Sambi Lokonga after the Belgian star was on the end of a Martin Odegaard rant.
The former Anderlecht player started on the bench for Arsenal’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester City but was introduced after the break after an injury to Thomas Partey. He endured a tricky evening & struggled in midfield.
A video of Norwegian star Odegaard blasting his teammate for his positional awareness went viral shortly after the final whistle.
Fans also claimed that Lokonga would not be the replacement for Partey should the Ghanaian midfielder be out for an extended period.
Wright has claimed that the midfielder’s lack of game time contributed to his slow start and will be up to speed sooner rather than later.
Speaking to ITV, the former striker said: “With someone like Sambi, he needs minutes, he needs to be playing, he needs to be able to understand and be more wary of where he is and what he needs to do and where he needs to be dropping in.
“You’ve got to kind of sense that danger and that’s why he needs the minutes in games of this quality, because that’s where you learn.”
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Ex-Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane was not convinced though. “But you hope at this stage and at this level they’ve already learned that part of the game. It’s a big concern,” he replied to Wright.
Arteta might have some thinking to do regarding his midfield ahead of next week’s Premier League trip to Goodison Park to face Everton. Should Partey be restricted to the sidelines, he could be set to join Elneny on the sidelines.
That would leave just Granit Xhaka and Lokonga as Arsenal’s defensive midfield options – albeit Ben White and recent signing Jakub Kiwior being able to deputise in defence. Arsenal though could turn to the transfer market to add to their ranks.
Arteta has expressed his desire for more options. Speaking last week, he said: “We need some more cover in midfield ideally if we can. In this market it’s pretty complicated to do that.”