Arteta on surprise Arsenal player: One of the best I've ever seen

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • 30 Sept 2023 13:04 BST
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
© ProShots

Mikel Arteta has sung the praises of one of his most ‘important’ players, even going as far as claiming them of displaying some of the ‘best defending’ the Arsenal manager has ever seen.

Takehiro Tomiyasu encountered a slow start to the current campaign, having been sent off on his first start against Crystal Palace in August, and the 24-year-old only played 56 minutes of Arsenal’s next four games.

Article continues under the video

However, Tomiyasu returned to the starting line-up in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup win at Brentford and was one of the Gunners’ top performers in a narrow 1-0 win.

POTENTIAL: Arteta hints at transfer news after Saka injury

With Declan Rice, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka all joining Thomas Partey and Jurrien Timber on the injury list, Tomiyasu’s versatility may be utilised by Arteta and the Gunners boss believes only consistency can stand in the way of the Japanese star continuing to impress.

“I always say that I’m really confident the moment Tomi has consistency, because it’s going to be a tremendous asset for us,” Arteta said. “He can play in any position in the backline, any formation in the backline – we don’t have a player like him.

“His defending is probably one of the best that I’ve seen in many situations. His principles and the way he applies them, the way he goes into duels. Now he needs a run of games that get him physically at his best. When Tomi is at his best, we’re going to have a player who is going to be so important for us.”

Tomiyasu succeeding as Arsenal’s jack of all trades

Tomiyasu has been used as more of a squad option since joining Arsenal in 2021, only making six league starts last season and filling in all across the backline.

However, the ex-Bologna man will likely see more action after Timber suffered a long-term knee injury on his debut, leaving Arsenal without their new first-choice right-back.

Tomiyasu has primarily been used as a full-back but he featured at centre-back during the win over Brentford, with Ben White shifting over to right-back instead.

TOUGH TIMES: Tomiyasu admits transfer speculation hurt confidence

With Arsenal having only kept one clean sheet in the Premier League this season, Arteta may look to incorporate Tomiyasu more as the Gunners look to extend their unbeaten run to start the season.

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.