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Arsene Wenger admits surprise over emergence of Arsenal fringe star

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that he has been taken by surprise as to how well Joel Campbell has done since being handed a bigger role.

The Costa Rican appeared to be set to leave the Emirates on loan at the start of the season, but Wenger opted to keep him in his squad.

In turn, due to injuries elsewhere in the team, Campbell has emerged as a key player for the Gunners on the wing and has continued to make an impact in their bid to win trophies this season.

Having scored an equaliser in the 3-1 win over Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday, as well as playing a crucial role in the second goal, Wenger has praised the 23-year-old and hopes that he can maintain his current form.

“What is very interesting in Campbell’s case is he looks like he has gained more confidence and more authority in his game,” he said, as reported by ESPN FC.

“In the final third he is a dangerous player, and he has shown that. When you look at the player, look at the number of goals he scores, the number of assists, and on that front you must say he has been very positive. And he works hard for the team.

“But you know, you want to be surprised by the quality of your players. And I think where he surprises you is the intensity of his team work.”

With Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin still sidelined and with the likes of Aaron Ramsey being handed a more centralised role to fill the gaps, Campbell is expected to continue to enjoy a run in the side in the coming weeks.

Whether or not he can continue to play a key role in Arsenal’s title push remains to be seen, but he has certainly been a welcome boost for Wenger in what is shaping up to potentially be a successful season for the north London giants.

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