Football News

Arsenal urged to find their ‘own James Milner’

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 16:38, 19 September 2019

Former-Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes the Gunners’ recent shortcomings are down to a lack of ‘attitude’ in midfield.

Despite much of the focus being on David Luiz and Sokratis in the heart of the defence, Campbell believes it is the lack of control of the game that is costing the Gunners.

Who are Arsenal’s midfield options? Five things to know…

  • Granit Xhaka is club captain and seemingly one of the first names on the team sheet.
  • But no player has conceded more penalties than him (five) since his debut in 2016.
  • Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos have found themselves in and out of the team.
  • Sol Campbell believes no one knowing Arsenal’s best midfield is the main issue at the club.
  • The former Arsenal defenders has urged the Gunners to sign someone of James Milner’s quality.

Talking to talkSPORT, Campbell identified an area which perhaps hasn’t been widely regarded as the main cause of concern for Arsenal this season: their midfield.

He said: “For me, it’s the controlling of the game. The middle of the park is where they’re lacking.

“The steeliness and the balance just isn’t there. It’s the middle of the park, you win or lose a lot of games there.

“You can have a strong back or a strong front, but if you haven’t got a middle that’s really solid, then you have forwards dropping too deep because they’re not getting fed and defenders doing too much.

“You get less attacks against you [with a stronger midfield], because you control the game more and you have the ball more.

“You win second balls and you don’t give silly fouls away. Yes, you’ve got to sort out the back. But in the middle of the park, they’ve got to get someone solid.

“They’ve got to realise the ingredients they need to win in the Premier League. At the moment, the ingredients aren’t right.”

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

“We need Milner at Arsenal”

Campbell benefitted from playing with Ray Parlour during his days at Highbury: a player who he specifically earmarked as one the Gunners would profit from having in central midfield.

Of course, Parlour is no longer available to sign, but Campbell identified a current player who he feels could do a similar job: James Milner.

The Liverpool midfielder has now officially spent over half of his life playing Premier League football and has the experience, as well as ‘attitude’, that could well benefit Arsenal at this moment in time.

Campbell added: “You look at someone like Milner, the attitude. The Ray Parlour attitude. That’s the kind of attitude that Arsenal need.

“The love of football and desire to keep going, I think they’re lacking that. I look at Milner and think we need a little bit of that at Arsenal.”