Ex-Arsenal defender gives his opinion on what Tavares needs to do

Former Arsenal left-back, Nigel Winterburn reckons Nuno Tavares doesn’t know how to play the full-back role.

The Portugal Under-21 star was signed in the summer to provide backup to Kieran Tierney when the Scotsman is unavailable.

During his first long spell in the first team late last year, Tavares did well, but in his recent appearances for the club, he has simply been terrible.

That forced Mikel Arteta to play Granit Xhaka as his preferred left-back in the club’s defeat against Brighton, even though Tavares was available to play.

Winterburn believes the fundamental problem that Tavares has at the moment is that he doesn’t understand the full-back role and because of that, he cannot play it well.

He tells Mirror Football: “I just don’t think he fully understands the complete role of a full-back and I think there’s a lot more he needs to learn defensively in terms of the situations he puts himself in.

“He needs to learn that side of the game very quickly and get back to the form going forward that he showed earlier in the season.

“The problem is when you’ve had a couple of games like the ones he’s had, then your confidence just drops so quickly.

“You can also lose the trust of the supporters, so it makes it difficult to come back when that happens.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

Tavares needs to get his act together soon before the club signs another left-back.

He is still very young, but Arsenal is rebuilding and there is no time to wait for anyone to possibly improve. We need players that will make an instant impact at the club.

He might get another chance before this season ends. Hopefully, he will take it.

Tags Nigel Winterburn Nuno Tavares


  1. Tavares is a huge talent. We saw that when he got a decent run of games when Tierney was out injured. But then Arteta restored Tierney and once the team moved into 4th place Arteta decided he woud put his complete faith in just 12 players for the last 17 games of the season. With no European or cup games it meant players like Tavares were frozen out. Now injury has struck the “unplayables” Leno Tavares Soares Holding Elneny Lokonga Nketiah + Pepe might have to play. I actually trust every single one of them and would start any of them with no qualms. By hooking Tavares after 45mins Arteta sent a massive no confidence vote to Tavares. Does Arteta now swallow his pride do a 180 and brng Tavares back? Would that show inconsistency desperation and panic something the publicly stern faced taciturn Arteta has been at pains to avoid all season. If Tavares plays and we win Arteta and Tavares wil be exalted but if Tavares plays and we lose both Arteta and Tavares will be condemned.

    1. Come on, even when he had a decent run i said except for athleticism he has nothing to offer. His crossess are bad, his first touch is bad, his defensive positioning is bad, his reading of the game is bad. He is not Arsenal level and he will probably never be. Anyway he needs one or two seasons on loan.

      1. That’s not how I remember his early run – I thought he showed excellent close control and a superb passing ability. Going forward, he looked more like a midfielder than a defender in terms of the passes he chose – something like trent, but obviously without such a high level of passing.
        Defensively he wasn’t exposed until he came up against Liverpool, the first really big test, but i expect he was reliant on his athleticism to make up for deficiencies in earlier games, which I don’t think is a big problem at such a young age.
        To my mind, he’s just got to get his head straight and he’ll be fine. Senderos is the example of what happens when a player never gains the ability to deal with the pressure that follows poor performances and difficult periods, and it’s one he should be very careful to avoid.

    2. I have to agree with fairfan,I would just add that making mistakes is part of the learning curve for a young footballer.i also doubt that MA would bench Ramsdale because he’s made one or two mistakes.

  2. Tavares isnt a full back hes a wing back or wide left player, he isn a defender as in left back. Great talent that seems to be left to drift at Arsenal, when he could be something very good.

  3. We’ve seen the same old movie over and over again under this manager-in-training: a talented young player or prospect mishandled, mismanaged, and then thrown onto the scrap heap to rot.

    Nuno is still an exciting prospect, just a season away from becoming a top-tier player in the league. It’s just a pity there is no one at this club to harness his talents.

  4. Tavares and Pepe need to be loan out at the end of the season.

    Not sure if it will be smart to start him against Southampton with his confidence that low, he should have come in against Brighton at home and coach through that game,

    I remember a coach who said he had to stand near the touch line to coach Traore from Wolves/Barcelona during games in his earlier years,

    The kid has talent that need nurturing for now like Troare

  5. A 3-5-2 formation will be ideal today white-holding-gabriel at defence,lokonga at dm double flanked by xhaka and saka at the left and odegaard and cedric at the right then martinelli and nketiah up top as double strikers,a defensive and very offensive line up,ain’t it.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors