Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to Nacho Monreal, labelling him as one of Arsenal's 'silent leaders'.
Monreal put in a man-of-the-match performance for the Gunners on Wednesday night as they came from behind to beat Chelsea and book a place in next month's League Cup final. It was Monreal's header which ricocheted off two Chelsea defenders for Arsenal's equaliser after Eden Hazard had given the visitors the lead.
Nacho Monreal – MOM— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 24, 2018
Touches 91 (most in match)
Passing Accuracy: 91%
Interceptions: 4 (most for Arsenal)
Helps Arsenal reach a 5th major Cup Final in last 7 years
Arsenal meet Man City in a major Cup Final for 1st time pic.twitter.com/LvZ1HpZ3ae
Monreal arrived at the Emirates as a relatively low-key signing from Malaga in 2013, but has since made nearly 200 appearances for the club, and is one of Arsenal's most consistent performers.
“For me he gets very much credit but maybe there’s a bit less focus on him because he’s not a candidate for the English national team, he doesn’t make many statements or he’s not enough on the social networks," said Wenger, quoted in the Evening Standard.
“But our job is about performance and I like the word of silent leaders. People who come, perform, they don’t talk, they go home and they come in the next morning, train well and the next day they do it again.
“They are the real leaders in the teams.”
After his role in Arsenal's equaliser against Chelsea, Monreal continued to be a threat going forward. Later, after Granit Xhaka had given Arsenal a crucial lead, Monreal performed his defensive duties admirably to ensure Arsenal's progress to the final.
Even Arsenal's greatest-ever player was impressed by Monreal's performance.
“To be able to give that sense of drive and that commitment to the team from the left-back position, that was just amazing," said Thierry Henry on Sky Sports.