By Nick Teale         

Arsène Wenger says this is a big season for Kieran Gibbs but says the full back has to take his opportunity because competition for his place is fierce.

Gibbs started 17 games for Arsenal in a breakthrough season last term, but has started just the one Premier League game so far in this campaign.

However, the 20-year-old will find himself back in the starting line up for Saturday's game against Birmingham due to an ankle injury picked up by Gael Clichy. 

Wenger knows Gibbs has the quality to be a top international left back and says now is the time for him to start performing on a regular basis.

"It is a big season for Kieran," said Wenger. "I believe he has the quality to be the England left back. I have said that for a long time."

"He is still very young. He has a lack of experience but has the quality.

"For him now it is to consistently play. He will play games this year and will play tomorrow for example."
With Clichy playing well and Armand Traore also back at Arsenal after spending last season on loan at Portsmouth, competition is strong at left back but Wenger says that should drive players on.

"When you make the choice to live in a competitive world you have to accept competition.
"To accept competition is to push somebody who is in front of you out and to show you are better."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
16 Oct 2009