ARSENAL legend Nigel Winterburn has told Nuno Tavares he must learn the role of a full-back if he wishes to salvage a career at the Emirates.
The 22-year-old has been guilty of inconsistent performances since arriving from Benfica for £8million last summer.
Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares has struggled for form in 2022 after a positive startCredit: Reuters
Tavares starred in the absence of first-choice left-back Kieran Tierney when called upon earlier in the campaign.
He started six Premier League matches in a row from October 22 to December 2 – notably impressing in the wins against Leicester, Aston Villa and Newcastle.
His standout displays saw him linked with a shock move to Manchester City.
But his form has dipped in 2022, with the defender hauled off after just 34 minutes in Arsenal’s FA Cup third round defeat to Nottingham Forest on January 9.
Following that clash, Tavares had to wait until February 24 for his next outing where he came on for the last minute against Wolves.
Mikel Arteta then opted to put his trust in Tavares once again following Tierney’s season-ending knee injury.
However just like against Forest, Tavares was taken off prematurely in the 3-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace earlier this month.
He was then dropped for the following loss to Brighton, with central midfielder Granit Xhaka preferred instead.
And Arsenal icon Winterburn believes Tavares’ lack of understanding could be why he was overlooked against the Seagulls.
He told the Mirror: “I just don’t think he fully understands the complete role of a full-back and I think there’s a lot more he needs to learn defensively in terms of the situations he puts himself in.
“He needs to learn that side of the game very quickly and get back to the form going forward that he showed earlier in the season.
“The problem is when you’ve had a couple of games like the ones he’s had, then your confidence just drops so quickly.
“You can also lose the trust of the supporters, so it makes it difficult to come back when that happens.”
Commenting on his poor form, he added: “It’s hard to say what’s happened when you’re looking from the outside, but it seems his level of performance has dropped.
“I’m not sure if that’s down to the amount he’s played or if it’s a confidence issue.
“For me, I don’t see him at this minute in time as a viable option for Arsenal due to his performances.
“He played well in certain games at the start of the season when Tierney was out injured.”