Nacho Monreal has been one of the most consistent defenders for Arsenal in recent years and was ranked highly alongside Laurent Koscielny as one of the better defenders at the club. Monreal’s form since late 2014 has seen him displace Kieran Gibbs for good, so much so that the Englishman rarely sees the pitch and he has now been rewarded with a call up to his national side.
Whilst many had thought that it was a travesty that Monreal wasn’t making the Spanish national side for many years, since 2013 in fact when he moved to Arsenal, you have to remember that Spain did see the rise of Jordi Alba at Barcelona. With this in mind, as much as I think Monreal is a top quality left back, Alba displaces Monreal like how Monreal displaces Gibbs. Today however it has been released that Monreal has received a late call up to the Spain squad for this round of World Cup Qualifying fixtures, after Alba picked up an injury.
It will come as quite a shock for Monreal, who probably felt his international career may have been over after not being picked for three years, however he now has a potential chance to impress and get himself back into the side with this opportunity. Admittedly in my opinion Monreal has not been at his best this season and his form has deteriorated since the last campaign. He has still been relatively solid, but has been caught out on a few occasions and left us vulnerable on occasion down the left hand side. A break from the intensity of club football during the international fixtures no doubt would’ve been good for Monreal. He could relax a little, but also work hard in training to raise the bar again. Now however he’ll find himself in a rush to get to Albania for Spain’s World Cup Qualifying match, so Arsene Wenger won’t get the time he’ll need to work with the 30 year old’s form.
Other news coming from the Spain camp is that Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin was back in training today after receiving very positive results on his injury scare a few days back. It seems that the young right back will be free and fit to continue with the Gunners as soon as he gets back to London, rather than be ruled out for a number of weeks as feared.