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'Never likes to be subbed': Coach thinks 22-year-old Arsenal talent has the makings of a 'top elite player'

Arsenal full-back Nuno Tavares has been praised by Joao Tralhao, his coach when he was in Benfica’s youth team.

Tralhao, speaking to football.london, said he is happy with how the Gunners defender has done this season.

He also suggested Tavares has what it takes to become a “top elite player”.

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Tavares joined Arsenal last summer for £7million, but his maiden season at the Emirates has been fairly mixed.

The 22-year-old has shown glimpses of his quality in a number of games, such as against Leicester and Newcastle.

He also scored against Manchester United.

However, Tavares has also struggled in other matches, in particular against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.

Lately, there have been rumours linking Arsenal with Bologna’s Aaron Hickey.

This would suggest Mikel Arteta may already be looking at alternative options at left-back besides Tavares.

“He’s doing well”

However, Tralhao reckons Tavares is developing well, and the defensive area of his game is improving.

“I think he is doing what I expected him to,” he told football.london.

“Of course, as we talked before, Nuno is with a big club in England, in the best league in the world.

“Of course, it is not an easy adaptation for any player, for any young player like Nuno is.

“But he’s doing well, so I believe then the competition he has in the squad, with one of the best full-backs in the Premier League, of course, it helps him.

“On one hand, it helps for him to improve and to get better and better, but on the other hand of course he needs to regularly.”

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“I think he understood”

Arteta took Tavares off at half time against Forest and Palace, and did not start the following fixtures either.

Tralhao believes the full-back would not have reacted badly, acknowledging they were tactical decisions.

However, he also says Tavares would not have enjoyed coming off – which is the mark of a top player.

“I think Mikel said it all, it was a tactical decision,” continued Tralhao.

“The decision of the manager is the most important thing, to the player and to the team.

“I don’t believe he was hurt, but I think he understood because like Mikel said, it was a tactical decision.

“I think, it’s not the only case in the world of doing that, sometimes players do not like to be subbed on the half time or before the second half, but that’s life.

“They need to be prepared for that, so I don’t believe he was hurt.

“He doesn’t like it of course. If he liked to be subbed, he cannot be a top elite player like he is at Arsenal.”

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