Freddie Ljungberg has backed Nicolas Pepe to overcome his recent struggles and ‘come good’ for Arsenal.
The Gunners’ £72million record signing is yet to justify his mammoth price tag since making the switch from Lille in 2019.
Pepe has struggled for game time in the Premier League of late and got himself sent off for headbutting Leeds United defender Ezgjan Alioski during last weekend’s stalemate at Elland Road.
The Ivory Coast international has fared much better in the Europa League and scored his third goal of this season’s competition in the 3-0 win over Molde on Thursday.
Ljungberg worked with Pepe during his time as an Arsenal coach and believes the winger will eventually fulfil his potential.
‘I think Nico will come good,’ the Arsenal Invincible told The Athletic.
‘Nico wants to work. Every player makes mistakes. I got sent off at Spurs!
‘Don’t slaughter them too much because it happens to all of us.
‘The important thing is how they react afterwards and if he knuckles down, works even harder and still tries to prove himself. He’s not had the easiest time, there’s a lot of focus on him.
‘I could say easy things like, ‘Yeah, he needs game time’. OK, but you have a lot of other players as well who need game time. That’s what is difficult.
‘When you come from the French league to the Premier League, you need a bit of adaptation. ‘It’s totally different football and everything around football. So you need game time but you need results at the same time. It’s not an easy balance.’