Arsene Wenger has suggested Mathieu Debuchy could still have a future at Arsenal following his return to the first-team, with more opportunities awaiting the Frenchman at centre-half.

Debuchy made his first appearance for the Gunners in 11 months in the Europa League victory over Red Star Belgrade in October, returning to the senior team after becoming the forgotten man of the football club.

Traditionally a right-back, he joined the club from Newcastle United in 2014 but the combination of Hector Bellerin's emergence and a series of injury problems saw him drop out of the first-team picture.

He had been expected to leave the club this summer, having seen his other attempts to force his way out during previous transfer windows blocked by Arsene Wenger – with the manager at one time denying him a move to Manchester United.

But with injuries across his backline and a packed fixture schedule, Wenger has brought Debuchy back in from the cold, starting him as a centre-half in wins over Red Star and Norwich City in the Carabao Cup.

And having been impressed with the defender's form since returning to the first-team hold, Wenger believes he could continue to have a role to play at the club in a new role.

"Maybe he has a future as a centre-back," Wenger said, report. "He has the attributes because, despite his size, he is very good in the air. You think he couldn't play centre-back because he is not tall, but if you look at the number of balls he wins in the air it is impressive."

With Wenger shifting to a 3-5-2 formation this season Debuchy has a better chance of forcing his way into the first-team and will likely be given the nod when the Gunners welcome Red Star to the Emirates on Thursday.

While Callum Chambers has returned to training this week to offer his manager another option at the back, Shkodran Mustafi remains sidelined with a groin injury.