Gallas to play out of position 'to help my team'

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The Independent Football

Much of William Gallas' unhappiness at Chelsea stemmed from being played at full-back, rather than his preferred central position. Having engineered his move from Stamford Bridge, there is some irony in him making his Arsenal debut against Middlesbrough today at left-back.

The position was recently vacated by Ashley Cole, who moved in the opposite direction, and Arsène Wenger is stretched because of injuries, so Gallas is happy to fill in, for now. "I play to help my team. If they have a problem at left-back or right-back I help them," he said. "It is normal. But everybody knows my best position."

That includes Wenger, but the Arsenal manager explained that in the current situation he has no choice. "Justin Hoyte is not a left-back, [Mathieu] Flamini is not comfortable there," Wenger said. Gaël Clichy is injured. "We have a problem, so [Gallas] plays there."

The 29-year-old's quality and experience will be welcomed, especially by the captain and fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry.

"I have known Thierry since we were 13 years old," Gallas said. "We talked when we were with the international team. I said maybe I would come to Arsenal and he was very happy."

So is Wenger. His two signings, Gallas and the defensive midfielder Julio Baptista, provide a "defensive stability" and a fresh start after the distractions of the Cole saga.