By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger believes that Samir Nasri’s World Cup omission has shocked the French midfielder into the best form of his Arsenal career.
The 23-year-old is arguably his team’s Player of the Season so far. In his opening ten games he has notched seven goals – equalling his best tally. Nasri has also been incisive and inventive in a number of roles across the midfield.
The former Marseille man demonstrated his new-found confidence with a sparkling display as France beat England 2-1 at Wembley on Wednesday. According to his manager he had something to prove.
“Not going to the World Cup was certainly a big shock for him,” said Wenger. “But he is mentally strong and, with his back to the wall, he can respond.
"He has all the needed individual talent. But I felt he is more efficient in what he's doing now. His finishing is better and his final ball is better.
“He has developed as a footballer and as a person. He grew up like Wilshere, inside Marseille, and then he left for England. That matures you.
“I'm convinced that overall he is making a step forward. He is quick and strong. And I feel it is normal that at 23 you are better than at 22."
The only real question mark remaining over Nasri is where he should play. The Frenchman operated centrally with Marseille and that remains his preference but Wenger stills sees him as a wide man.
"He should play where he is most useful to the team,” said the manager. “If you ask him, he will want to play in the middle. If you ask me, at the moment, I see him more on the flanks. But it's not like our players who play on the flanks are prisoners of the zone where they play.”Copyright 2017 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