By Declan Taylor

According to Arsène Wenger, the “opinions are changing” about Alex Song.

After making only 20 starts during his first three years at the Club, the 21-year-old established himself as a key member of Wenger’s squad last season, making 48 appearances in all competitions.

Although the manager initially thought Song would be a central defender, the Cameroonian has emerged as a genuine midfield enforcer - the perfect foil for Cesc Fabregas in the Arsenal engine room.

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, the manager hailed Song’s continued development at the Club in sometimes difficult circumstances.

“I was always confident Song would pop up in this [central midfield] position, or at centre-back,” the manager said.

“I brought him here aged 17 and worked very hard with him, we worked hard because I felt he had the talent to become a good player.

“I know that the opinions are changing about him now.

“He had to swim a little bit against the stream, and he did that very well.”

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 21 Aug 2009