Rob Edwards hails forgotten Arsenal star as ‘complete midfield player’ | Football

Rob Edwards has helped relaunch the career of Albert Sambi Lokonga at Luton Town (Picture: Getty)

Luton Town manager Rob Edwards believes on loan Arsenal star Sambi Lokonga is on his way to becoming the ‘complete midfield player’.

The 24-year-old joined the Gunners in the summer of of 2021 and arrived with a burgeoning reputation following his exploits with Anderlecht.

Lokonga, however, struggled to win the faith of Mikel Arteta and showed only flashes of potential during his debut season.

The Belgium international was loaned out to Crystal Palace last January but was afforded only limited opportunities to impress following the sacking of Patrick Vieira soon after his arrival at Selhurst Park.

Injuries have also hampered Lokonga’s progress but since his return to fitness he has played a key role in the Hatters’ engine room as Edwards’ side continues to mount an impressive bid for Premier League survival.

Asked to assess the progress Lokonga has made since securing a regular place in his starting XI, Edwards said: ‘I love him. He’s amazing.

‘I think he’s a brilliant player. I told him as we were walking off the pitch after training, ‘god you’re some player, I love watching you play.’ He’s great. He’s been great for us.

Albert Sambi Lokonga has made an impressive impact at Luton

Albert Sambi Lokonga has made an impressive impact at Luton (Picture: Getty)

Albert Sambi Lokonga hasn't played for Arsenal since last season's FA Cup fourth round defeat at Man City (

Albert Sambi Lokonga hasn’t played for Arsenal since last season’s FA Cup fourth round defeat at Man City (Picture: Getty)

‘A brilliant person. So hard working, really humble, really talented, very tactically aware, in the right place at the right time to control a game, takes the ball under pressure.

‘He’s giving us a final pass as well now. He’s looking like, for me, a really complete midfield player.’

Lokonga’s chances of impressing at the Emirates, meanwhile, were further hindered by the summer signing of Kai Havertz who has largely been used in a midfield position.

Despite some underwhelming performances, Arteta declared himself more than satisfied with the £65m man’s contributions this season, speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Burnley.

‘I love him,’ he said. ‘I love him. I think we all love him as a player as a person, everything that he brings to the team. There are two or three moments the other day with 4,5,6-0 and how he tracks people and how he’s defending the box and then how he’s attacking the box.

‘The position that he’s constantly threatening the opponent’s box as well that I really like and you ask him to play as a nine, as a right attacking midfielder, left attacking midfielder, on the base defending and he does it. He’s just a joy to work with.’

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