No not J K Rowling’s latest best seller but an appraisal of the meteoric rise and rise of a young footballer.
There can be no doubt that this young man’s explosive entry onto the Premiership stage has taken more than a few people by surprise. Only at the start of last season did he make his First Team league debut, playing a full ninety minutes of Southampton’s first game of the 2013/14 campaign at right back against West Bromwich Albion and this just seventeen days after signing a new four year contract with the Hampshire club.
Calum had joined Southampton at the tender age of seven and had risen through the Academy ranks until it was announced that he was one of four players promoted to the first team squad at the start of the 2012/13season.
During the next season he made twenty-five appearances in all, twenty-two of them in the league.
During the summer break Arsenal stepped in with a bid, believed to be potentially as high as £16 million, for the nineteen year old. On the 28th July 2014 he signed a long term contract with Arsenal.
With Bacary Sagna’s departure, Chambers was initially seen as a back-up for Mathieu Debuchy who had been signed from Newcastle United only a few days before, but it soon became apparent that he could just as well provide cover at centre-back. Indeed his very first game for Arsenal was in place of the absent Per Mertesacker in the 5 – 1 win over Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup.
At the time Arsene Wenger said that he, Chambers, would be used sparingly as he was only nineteen and had little experience of top flight football. Although signed as a right-back, he could also play at Centre-back but would, probably, in the future end up as a defensive mid-fielder. He would most likely play no more than perhaps twenty games in the season, concentrating on the cup competitions.
However, Chambers’ competitive debut for Arsenal was to be at Centre-back against last season’s champions Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley, a game Arsenal won 3 – 0.
After the match the BBC picked Chambers out for special praise stating “his mature performance defied his youthful years”.
Since the start of the season Chambers has been ever present for Arsenal in their seven Premiership matches against Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea. In addition he has played in the Champions League against Besiktas (home and away) and Galatasaray, and in the Capital One Cup. To cap a momentous period in his so far short career on the 3rd September he made his first appearance for the full England team as a substitute right-back, coming on for the last nine minutes in the 1 – 0 win over Norway.
On Tuesday he was called up from the England U21s to fill the vacant right-back berth vacated by the injured John Stones in the full England squad.
Chambers has received widespread praise for his composed, intelligent defending, he has good pace and excellent ball control and has shown the willingness and confidence to have a shot on goal when the chance arrives. Whilst he has accumulated five yellow cards in seven Premiership games, and one in the Champions League, there is no suggestion that he is a “dirty” player.
In none of the high profile games he has played has he been “found out” be they at a packed Wembley for the Community Shield or against the current run-away leaders of the Premiership, the current Champions or in the hostile atmosphere of Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul against Besiktas.
Early days yet maybe, but so far he has come through a severe baptism of fire virtually unscathed.
Written by Norfolk Gooner.