Ray Parlour has hailed Mathieu Flamini's key role in the Arsenal midfield and says he has been an "excellent" acquisition.

The French midfielder rejoined the Club this summer and has impressed with a string of resolute performances at the base of the Gunners' midfield.

Arsenal legend Parlour believes the Frenchman's tigerish displays as the defensive shield have helped the team go to the next level.

What I like about him is that he's been bossing a few players about and you need players like that

Ray Parlour

"Flamini has been very important," Parlour told Arsenal Player. "At times over the last few seasons when Arsenal have broke forward they look great but when they lose the ball they have been very open in midfield. Good teams will exploit that.

"He's always in those areas where the ball breaks loose and is always trying to win the ball back. He then moves it quickly to the likes of Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil who can really do something with the ball.

"He did that really well before he left. Now he's doing exactly the same and he's a very important player to have in there because you can see [Per] Mertesacker and [Laurent] Koscielny really enjoying their football because they have got Flamini in front of them.

"He's doing a great job shielding them because at times they do look a bit open when they play with all the attacking players they have got."

Parlour built his reputation as a hard working, box-to-box midfielder during his 12 years at Arsenal and he thinks Flamini possesses similar qualities.

"What I like about him is that he's been bossing a few players about and you need players like that," he said.

"We had Patrick Vieira doing it when I played and I did it myself, telling other players to get back in position before you can have a rest.

"I think Flamini has been really good on that side of the game which is a massive thing for the Club because he's experienced and he's been there and done it. I think the players have really responded to him by improving their positioning."

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 Isaac Moore 14 Oct 2013