English Premiership

Lichtsteiner: I knew Bellerin would be my competition

Stephan Lichtsteiner (Getty Images)
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner says being a squad player for the Gunners doesn't bother him and he is willing to fight for his place with Hector Bellerin.

The Switzerland international joined manager Unai Emery's team from Juventus in July but has only made one appearance this season, with Bellerin the preferred starter at right-back.

However, the 34-year-old says he was well aware of what his role would be when he signed his one-year contract. Lichtsteiner had many other options to sign for clubs where he would start regularly but he preferred to join Arsenal instead.

"I could have changed to five other clubs in the summer, knowing that I would certainly play 47 out of 50 serious matches," he told the media.

"It doesn't irritate me, as in 2011, when I moved to Juventus, I wanted to join a big club. I was looking for a demanding challenge in a new league.

"That's why I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin."

He continued: “For me, stepping down has never been up for debate. If I have to admit that I can not keep the level of the last few years, then it is time.

"But then I will not only resign from the Swiss national team, but finish my career. Based purely on performance data I have the physicality of a 28-year-old.

"It is quite unusual for me to be a substitute. Three games in a row [on the bench], that’s never happened to me.

"If you have achieved a lot in your career, you have high expectations of yourself and want to play. But I also know that I will get the chance to play games."

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