Arsène Wenger says that Kieran Gibbs has ‘stepped up’ this season.

Gibbs made his 100th appearance for Arsenal in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Reading at Emirates Stadium.

The 23-year-old has impressed when fit in a season disrupted by injury, and Wenger believes Gibbs is in the top bracket of left backs in the Premier League.

He has improved a lot, has put his personality into the games, which was sometimes a bit of a problem for him

Arsène Wenger

“I think this season has been, despite the fact that he was in doubt for a while, a step up season for him,” he said.

“He has improved a lot, has put his personality into the games, which was sometimes a bit of a problem for him. He has authority, he is decisive going forward, and in games where we were struggling a bit like Swansea in the cup he turned up and was the one who brought the pressure on the opponent.

“Even at Munich when he had been out for six weeks he came straight back in and had a very decent game. For me he has moved into the top three left backs in the country.”

Wenger bought Nacho Monreal from Malaga to compete for the left-back slot in the January transfer window, and the boss feels Gibbs is ready to battle to make the position his.

“He is ready for the fight,” Wenger said. “I did it because I believe you never know with only one left back. You need two. And as well because both can play one in front of the other, so there’s an opportunity to use them both in some games.”

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 Nik Brumsack 2 Apr 2013