Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was quick to single out veteran right-back Mathieu Debuchy for praise after the North London club’s 6-0 victory over BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Gunners boss has used the European competition this season to rotate his squad, with a host of young players and those on the fringes getting a welcome competitive outing.
While the likes of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott were on form in the latest midweek victory, Debuchy also put in an excellent showing and even got in on the goals.
Wenger has praised the Arsenal right-back for his attitude, especially given that first-team opportunities at the Emirates Stadium for the former Newcastle United defender have not been forthcoming over the last two years.
“He’s mentally strong – I’ve said many times in this job you can never give up, no matter what happens for you and always be ready in case you’re needed,” the Gunners boss told the club’s official website.
“Not many can do that, but Mathieu can do that.”
Debuchy was signed from Newcastle in 2014, with the Frenchman replacing Bacary Sagna in the Arsenal defence at the time.
However, the emergence of Hector Bellerin has relegated the 32-year-old to fringe status, with the France international also spending time out on loan at Bordeaux last season.
Despite the Spanish flyer having the right wing-back role as his own currently, Wenger stated that Debuchy still had a role to play at Arsenal.
“He is under contract,” the Gunners manager continued.
“That’s down to his performances now and I opened the door for him many times because he didn’t play and because he has Bellerin in front of him.
“I must say I have a huge respect for his professional side and how much he did fight to come back to the top. He’s a tough, tough guy. Tough worker.”
Looking at it objectively, Debuchy offers plenty of Premier League and international experience and is a good man to have around the Arsenal squad.
There have been no question marks over the defender’s attitude and Wenger’s praise is another testament to this.
Bellerin has become an important man in the Arsenal starting XI and the likelihood of the former Barcelona youth player being replaced by Debuchy if the Gunners boss is picking his side on merit is slim.
But, with the North London side still fighting on four fronts, having the veteran Frenchman available to fill-in during cup and European clashes is a good option for Wenger to have.
It is extremely likely that Debuchy will return to France next summer and call it quits on his time at Arsenal, but for the rest of the campaign having someone of his calibre waiting in the wings boosts the club’s strength in depth and chances of silverware in cup competitions.