Arsene Wenger says Joel Campbell is proving he has the talent to be a key player for Arsenal.
The Costa Rica forward has impressed for the Gunners during his first full campaign, claiming two goals and an assist in his last four games.
Campbell set up Olivier Giroud’s second goal in the 3-0 win at Olympiacos on Wednesday, and Wenger believes the 23-year-old will play an important part this season.
"He works really hard. He is not only a player who shows talent but he is a guy who puts a shift in for the team"
“He shows slowly, game by game, that he has the talent to do it,” he said. “If you look at his numbers since he played, you look at the number of goals he has scored and the number of assists he has given, you can say it is much better than people think it is.
“The other night, the ball he gives for the second goal absolutely shows that there is something special in him. On top of that I think he is a guy who puts his body on the line for the team. He works really hard. He is not only a player who shows talent but he is a guy who puts a shift in for the team.”
Arsenal’s next test is against Aston Villa and, after comprehensive victories against Sunderland and Olympiacos, Wenger believes his side can carry their momentum into Sunday’s clash.
“It will be a tough game at Villa and that is why I say it is important we focus straight away on the Premier League after Wednesday night and that we recover physically and mentally," he said. "We have showed we have the maturity to focus on both competitions.
“We have, 16 years on the trot, come out of the group stage in the Champions League and it reinforces me in the belief I have in the group. I always thought this group could go far.
"They have the attitude and the spirit. But as well you have to show that on the pitch you have the talent to do what you think your players can do.”
Remi Garde is the new Aston Villa manager tasked with keeping the club in the Premier League but, despite the tough challenge, Wenger still believes it is a good career move for the former Arsenal defender.
“You might never get an opportunity so you have to take a gamble and what you want is to have chance to show you have the quality at his age,” he said.
“In the Premier League you make a phone-call now and in an hour I'd have 500 candidates so when you have an opportunity, take it. It is a big club, it is a big potential and at the moment expectation is not too high, they do not want him to win the Premier League so he might be given time to show he has the quality and that is most important.”