insists only ‘time will tell’ if is a player worth standing by after the Arsenal defender was rescued by VAR during Sunday’s crucial win over Leeds United.
The Brazil international has formed a promising partnership with William Saliba at the heart of the Gunners’ defence this season but his own performances have been undermined by a series of costly individual errors.
Gabriel was at fault for the goal Arsenal conceded against Fulham earlier this season when he was caught in possession by Aleksandar Mitrovic and although he redeemed himself on that occasion with the matchwinning strike, errors have persisted.
Indeed, it was the 24-year-old’s rash tackle that led to Tottenham’s penalty in the north derby, while it was his failure to deal with a long punt forward by Trent Alexander-Arnold that allowed Luis Diaz to create ’s equaliser in the recent win over Liverpool.
And the Brazil international was so nearly the fall guy at Elland Road on Sunday when he appeared to kick out at Patrick Bamford only for referee Chris Kavanagh to overturn his decision to award a penalty and red card after consulting with the pitchside monitor.
Mikel Arteta boasts several alternative options including the likes of Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who have both featured predominantly at full-back this season, as well as Rob Holding, but Ferdinand feels it would be premature to drop Gabriel despite concerns over his ’emotional’ defending.
Ferdinand told Vibe: ‘As centre backs, you don’t really want to be talked about a lot during a game.
‘If you can just ghost through most games and put an eight out of 10 performance in you’re flying.
‘But every week he’s in the headlines or he’s in underneath with a little bullet point next to his name and a bad incident.
‘I don’t know if you replace him. Sometimes someone with that energy, as much as you maybe call it a liability, he’s performing. Time will tell if he’s someone you want to stick by.
‘I don’t like emotional defenders, that’s what I always say about centre backs, I don’t like emotional ones who get caught up in the moment in games.
‘They leave you a man down at times and can be a bit impulsive and jump out and make mad decisions in big moments.
‘If he can grow out of that you’ve got a good player there.’
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