‘How Nacho cultivated his nose for goal’

We were indebted to Nacho Monreal on several occasions last season.

In addition to last-gasp clearances and vital tackles, the Spain defender also added goals to his game and developed a knack of scoring at crucial times.
Such was Monreal’s improvement in front of goal that he scored six times last term - twice as many goals as he had managed in his previous five campaigns - and Arsène Wenger had plenty of praise for the defender.
“Nacho Monreal has had a very good season,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “Age of course, when you’re a defender, is maybe less damaging than when you play in the middle of the park or up front, because you can use your experience.
“Nacho has also turned up to score the goal when it was needed many times this season and that’s why he’s a very important player for us.

“Sometimes when they have that [nose for goal] I ask them, ‘Where did you play in your childhood?’ and most of the time you get the answer, ‘Up front’.
“That’s something that they cultivated at a very young age and then afterwards they have been pushed back because they lack a little bit of pace or short technique, but they have developed that nose and anticipation at a young age.”

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