When veteran Switzerland international Stephan Lichtsteiner joined Arsenal from Juventus as a free agent in the summer, most Gunners fans assumed that he would be back-up for first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin.
True to form, that is what has happened, as the new arrival has played just 55 minutes as a substitute in the Gunners season opener against Manchester City. The 34-year-old was expecting to compete with Bellerin for the right-back spot.
He told the Standard: “I could have changed to five other clubs in the summer, knowing that I would certainly play 47 out of 50 serious matches,”
“It doesn’t irritate me, as in 2011, when I moved to Juventus, I wanted to join a big club. I was looking for a demanding challenge in a new league.
“That’s why I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin.”
Bellerin could learn a lot from the veteran
When Arsenal signed Lichtsteiner, I thought he would be a useful signing for the Gunners. However, it was less for his playing ability and more for the advice he could give Bellerin during his time at the club.
Bellerin does have major potential and has shown it off and on since breaking into the team. However, he is still young and maybe the experience of Lichtsteiner could help the Spaniard mature as a player.
Unless Bellerin is struggling badly for form, it seems unlikely that Lichtsteiner will be selected ahead of the former Barcelona youngster. Many people within the game regard Lichtsteiner as a top professional.
To be still playing at a high level of the game at 34 shows he is a man who looks after himself. Bellerin can only learn from his presence in the squad.
Lichtsteiner not retiring from the international game
Stephan Lichtsteiner was recently asked if he was going to retire from international duty. However, the full-back says he will only retire when he feels like he can no longer play at the top level of the game.
In fact, Lichtsteiner is in Switzerland squad for their friendly game against England this evening, a game in which the Swiss are odds of 17/4 to win.
Lichtsteiner seems like an intelligent guy who still has lots to give to football. I hope that all the younger players at the club can take something from his presence at the club, not just Bellerin.
Can Lichtsteiner’s presence help Bellerin become a better player?