Nasri more at ease in middle

SAMIR NASRI can see himself settling down as a defensive midfielder for Arsenal.

The France international was deployed as a playmaker just behind the strikers when he was at Marseille and since his move to the Gunners last summer, he has mostly been used on the left wing.

But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has recently employed Nasri as a defensive midfielder, preferring Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin in more attacking roles, and the Frenchman has adapted well to the change in position.

“I think so, yes,” Nasri said, when asked if defensive midfield could be his future position.

“In any case, I am more at ease in the middle. I have more influence on the game. Even if it isn’t up to me to do the dirty work, I feel capable of doing it. In England, I have learnt to take the knocks. But I still need to adjust to the positions you need to take up because you have different demands to when you play on the wings.”

Nasri revealed France coach Raymond Domenech and former OM boss Albert Emon have also told him his regular position should be in front of the back four, similar to the one taken up by Italy star Andrea Pirlo, who started out as an attacking midfielder. The 21-year-old has had an up-and-down first season at Arsenal, with injuries preventing him from really blossoming.

He came with a huge reputation after two successful years with OM but he admits this season has been one of transition.

“Not everything has been perfect, I know that, but I am never happy,” Nasri, who signed for Arsenal for a reported fee of £12 million, told L’Équipe.

“I have played at a high standard but I have also had some little knocks at the start as well.

“But I think I have had a good season overall. I had to adapt to the English game – I didn’t think it would be so quick and physical – and I have learnt a lot.

“I am more consistent and am now used to the physicality here. When I look at our recent match against Liverpool (4-4 at Anfield), it was a match I have only played before on a PlayStation.

“When you play a part in it and you don’t come out of it too badly, you are proud.”

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