Havard Nordtveit will have to wait a little longer for his Arsenal debut but feels ready to make a contribution for Arsène Wenger's first team.
The versatile Norwegian was left on the bench for the midweek Carling Cup victory over Wigan but could be back in the frame when the Gunners take on Ipswich Town in their two-legged Semi-Final in January.
Nordtveit impressed with his performances in pre-season and believes that last year's loan spell with Bundesliga side Nurnberg has prepared him for the cut and thrust of English football.
"Overall I feel a much better footballer now, especially in terms of mentality," Nordtveit told the Official Matchday Programme.
"When I went to Lillestrom [on loan], in Norway, we were at the bottom of the league so we had to really fight for points every week – and it was a similar situation in Germany. I remember after one away game when we hadn’t played well, our travelling fans stood in front of the bus so that we couldn’t drive away. We had to go out and explain what had happened. It was a hard time – when you are towards the top it can be easy to play your football and win games, but when you’re struggling it can be hard to turn things around.
"Now I feel I have more of a winning mindset – I want to win everything in training, for example, and that’s hopefully a good thing. And when you play in front of 82,000, as I did when we faced Borussia Dortmund, you just want more experiences like it. I remember the wall of fans behind the Dortmund goal, a mass of yellow and black standing and jumping. When the referee blew the whistle I couldn’t help just watching for a couple of seconds!"
The position in which Nordtveit eventually makes his first-team debut remains to be seen. He played as a defensive midfielder in Germany but usually operates at centre back or right back for the Reserves. The player himself does not mind, as long as he gets a game.
"I’ll play wherever Neil Banfield or the boss want me to," he said. "It’s a useful thing for me to have more than one position. At Nurnburg I was playing more as a third central defender, in front of the two centre-backs like a kind of spare, balancing player.
"In Norway I normally played at right-back, which is a position where you can be more offensive and have more contact with the ball. It’s valuable because it means that, when you go back to playing as a central defender, you know how a full-back will think and what he might do."
This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Dec 2010