By Richard Clarke

Johan Djourou is pushing Arsenal's more experienced centre backs all the way at the moment, according to Arsène Wenger.

The 21-year-old is currently away with Switzerland preparing for their game with Finland this evening.

However Wenger has been highly impressed by Djourou's recent leap forward and has been singing his praises to Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

In addition, the Frenchman believes the youngster can challenge Arsenal's experienced trio of Kolo Toure, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre for a permanent place in the heart of the Arsenal defence.

"Johan Djourou is not comparable to the player he was six months ago," said the manager before the weekend.

"He has gained in personality, in determination and in quality. I spoke with the Swiss national team coach last week and I was telling him how good he is.

"He is pushing all the other players [at Arsenal]. At the back you want players who are strong in the duels and strong in the air. Johan's size is a big advantage. He is among the top quality."

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 19 Nov 2008