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Numbers behind Rooney's England career

Five Aside

Arsene Wenger: Calum Chambers has the quality for England

LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backtracked on his suggestions that England manager Roy Hodgson should have been patient before promoting his teenage defender Calum Chambers to the full England squad.

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Hodgson selected Chambers in his squad for the friendly international against Norway at Wembley next week, just a few days after Wenger had suggested his selection just three games into his Arsenal career would have been a little hasty.

Now Wenger has claimed the player he signed from Southampton last month is capable of handing the pressures of being a full international, as he has backed Chambers to snatch his chance in a new-look England line-up.

"I believe Chambers has the quality to be where he is," Wenger told reporters at Arsenal's London Colney training base. "He's only played [started] three games for us and is in the national team. Of course that's the speedy way, but Calum is equipped mentally to deal with that. He has the character to deal with the pressure and the attention he will get.

"The only danger is psychological. That maybe he is under too much pressure, that it comes too quick.

"I'm not negative about it because at Arsenal we have the example of Theo Walcott, who handled that very well. Jack Wilshere was very quick as well. He's a kind boy and has a good family environment. I hope in the national team he'll be protected a little bit as well."

Wenger went on to suggest Chambers could develop into a holding midfielder for club and country in years to come, having already proved his worth in a full-back role with Southampton last season and in the centre of defence since his move to Arsenal.

"Chambers has the potential to do it," said Wenger when asked about his potential as a holding midfielder. "He has the vision and ability. He has a big engine and can absorb the effort that is demanded in there, but he can also become a very good centre-back and it's very difficult to find that quality of centre-back today."


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