ARSENAL defender Stephan Lichtsteiner is determined to win a starting spot at the Gunners despite rumours emerging that he will retire because of a lack of playing time.
The 34-year-old put down rumours that he will be hanging up his boots anytime soon and has vowed to challenge Hector Bellerin for a starting place in the team.
“I wanted to join a big club, I was looking for a demanding challenge in a new league,” said Lichtsteiner.
“That’s why I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin.”
The Switzerland international, who left Juventus to join the Arsenal on a one-year contract this summer, has found it difficult to oust Bellerin from the first team.
“For me, stepping down has never been up for debate, if I have to admit that I cannot keep the level of the last few years, then it is time”
Lichtsteiner claims he has the physique of a man six years younger than him and insists if he can no longer perform at a high level, he will not only retire from the national team but also call it a day on his entire football career.
“For me, stepping down has never been up for debate, if I have to admit that I cannot keep the level of the last few years, then it is time,” Lichtsteiner said to Sportal.
“But then I will not only resign from the Swiss national team, but finish my career.
“Based purely on performance data I have the physicality of a 28-year-old.”
The right-back had a successful career at Juventus, winning seven Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies, and is confident he made the right choice in joining Arsenal despite his lack of playing time.
“I could have changed to five other clubs in the summer, knowing that I would certainly play 47 out of 50 serious matches,” he said.
“If you have achieved a lot in your career, you have high expectations of yourself and want to play- but I also know that I will get the chance to play games.
“It is quite unusual for me to be a substitute. Three games in a row, that’s never happened to me.”
Lichtsteiner will hope he gets the nod over Bellerin when Arsenal travel to St James’ Park to face Newcastle in their next match Premier League on Saturday.