The big interview

Nacho - The game I felt most under pressure

In this season's matchday programme, we're finding out how members of the first-team squad cope with pressure.

We recently spoke to Nacho Monreal - and here's how he answered our questions:

In which Arsenal match did you feel under most pressure?
I would say the game I felt the most pressure in was definitely my debut. I’d only signed for Arsenal two days before it, it was a home game against Stoke which we won 1-0. I remember feeling nervous before that game.

In which non-Arsenal (or non first-team) did you feel most pressure?
That would have been my national team debut. I played the last 15 minutes or so and I remember having nerves before it.

Arsenal are winning a cup final 1-0 with five minutes to go, but you are unable to play, watching at home. How stressed would you be? Would you be able to watch? 
If that were to happen, I’d be really nervous! When you’re not on the pitch, you feel more under pressure. When you’re playing, your focus is just on that so you don’t think about anything else. When you’re not on the pitch and want to be, it’s a bad feeling!

There’s a striker bearing down on goal, who do you want making the last ditch tackle?
I would say Laurent Koscielny - he’s very quick, he’s strong and he’s a very good tackler. I’m sure he’d save the situation.

Your team have a penalty to win the Premier League in the last minute – who do you want taking it?
Me! No, I’d go for Santi Cazorla. I’d be completely sure that he would score.

It’s a penalty shoot out, do you put yourself forward for the first five? 
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind which of the five I’d take – I’d go first or last if I was asked to. But I’d definitely shoot, for sure.

You move clubs to a country which speaks a different language and you’re told you have three months before you have to do interviews … any chance? How would you learn?
Oh… I don’t think I could do that. I’ve been in England for nearly five years now so I can speak English but I think after three months it would have been hard. I think you start to feel as though you can understand a new language after around six months, so maybe at that point.

You’re in a karaoke bar, everyone has sung, you have to – how good are you? What do you sing? Who in the squad would you like to listen to – who not?
Good question – I’m not too sure. For my initiation, I had to sing, so I picked La Bamba, a Spanish song. I’m not sure who the best singer is but when Petr Cech had his initiation, he came up with this rap, where he picked out all of us and used our names. It was something different and everyone really enjoyed it. 

You have dinner guests arriving in 30 minutes and nothing’s prepared – could you cook a meal? What would it be? What would they think of it?
That’s tough – but yes I could do it. I’d probably make a salad, I’d cook some chicken and of course have it with nachos and cheese!

You have been told you have a year to learn another sport and play it professionally – what would you choose? What would definitely be impossible?
I love tennis, so I’d probably go with that, but I wouldn’t be able to play it professionally. I don’t play it a lot but I really enjoy it. My favourite tennis player is Rafael Nadal.