Arsenal fringe player is developing into a star, claims first-team colleague
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Joel Campbell is developing into a “very important” Arsenal player, according to team-mate Olivier Giroud.
Both players were on the scoresheet as the Gunners defeated Sunderland 3-1 on Saturday to give the team a much-needed Premier League boost.
With Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla joining Arsenal’s casualty list in the last week, Arsene Wenger selected Campbell in his starting X1 against the Black Cats and the Costa Rican responded with his second goal for the club.
He broke the deadlock with a smart finish after latching on to a Mesut Ozil through pass, and Giroud believes it was just reward for the 23-year-old’s perserverance.
Campbell has taken advantage of the slew of injuries that have decimated Wenger’s squad over the last few months to finally play regularly, four years after making the move to Emirates Stadium.
“I’m happy for him because he has the opportunity to show his talent,” Giroud told the Arsenal website. “He’s a top guy who is very generous on the pitch because he never gives up.
“It’s not always been easy for him but I always used to speak with him, encourage him and when he’s playing like that he’s very important for us.
“Hopefully we’re going to see more of him in that form.”
Campbell has made seven starts for Arsenal this season, and 11 appearances in total.
Giroud scored at both ends as he took his goal tally for the campaign to 10, one more than the next highest, Alexis Sanchez, and he admitted to feeling relieved at full-time.
“I was frustrated but now I’m very pleased to score the second goal and help the team win the game.”