ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has challenged teenager Calum Chambers to ensure the north Londoners do not suffer in right-back Mathieu Debuchy’s absence.
The Frenchman, signed in the summer from Newcastle for £12m, underwent surgery on injured ankle ligaments on Friday and is consequently set for three months on the sidelines.
It leaves Wenger’s choices limited in that position to Chambers or fellow 19-year-old Hector Bellerin, who played in last week’s Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
Bellerin is expected to start in tonight’s Capital One Cup third round clash at Emirates Stadium with Southampton.
But Wenger hopes Chambers can play a peripheral role in their Premier League campaign.
“It is a blow of course [to lose Debuchy], how big it will be we will only know afterwards, because it will be down to how well we replace him,” said Wenger.
“We bought Chambers for that.”
Positive news for Wenger however, is the anticipated return of Theo Walcott, next month.
The 25-year-old forward has not played since rupturing anterior cruciate ligaments in an FA Cup third round tie against bitter rivals Tottenham in January and was forced to miss the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
But Walcott has targeted a return to the Arsenal side against Hull on 18 October following the next international break.