Sunday, 24 February 2013

Captain Jack?

With Jack Wilshere being Arsenal's outstanding performer thus far this season and Vermaelen struggling for form Jack the Lad looks set to become Arsenal's next captain. At such a tender age and still developing, the question arises 'Why is Wilshere being made captain?'

Marketability - Wilshere has returned since his injury to quickly become Arsenal's messiah. In a team that at times looks without purpose, fans see him as a shining light driving the team forward. Add to that the fact that he's a product of the youth academy and it's no surprise why he has endeared himself so well to gooners. In recent years Arsenal FC have shown themselves to be very shrewd when it comes to money matters and giving Wilshere the captaincy creates a huge potential for commercial deals involving him and the club.
This is something that Mr. Wenger and the Arsenal board are all to aware of, and I wouldn't be surprised if one the main factors influencing the captaincy is Wilshere's marketability.

Vermaelen - One of Arsenal's most reliable defenders in the 2011/12 season, unfortunately since receiving the captaincy at the end of last season he has looked a shadow of his former self - notably giving away a goal to a certain ex-arsenal skipper at Old Trafford. Contrary to what most people will tell you the Arsenal defence has actually performed well this season, conceding the second fewest goals in the league. This is probably due to Vermaelen's (and Steve Bould's) influence. Unfortunately the captaincy seems to be having a detrimental effect on his individual performances and realistically a poorly performing player cannot expect to retain the captaincy.

Team effect - Wilshere would become an extremely young captain, following in Fabregas' footsteps, and although he seems to be well-liked among the players, it would be naive to dismiss the possibility that some older arsenal players may not take him seriously enough when making decisions. This should only be a minor factor to take into account given that our squad -if nothing else - are extremely professional. On the flip side it may spur older, experienced players to step up as leaders across the pitch - helping Jack in his new role. One place that this would be incredibly useful is up front as often the issue ,this season, has been that our attacks have lacked direction. In my opinion the reason for this is Podolski and Giroud - as they have come in they have needed time to settle in. As most people can attest to it can often be difficult when settling in to become a leader. The change in captaincy would certainly give these two players an opportunity to really step up for Arsenal to aid Jack's transition.

Wilshere himself - The gamble being taken on Wilshere's captaincy in my view is most dependent on this factor. Given that the more experienced Vermaelen has struggled to cope with the responsibilty of captaincy it is very possible that captaincy will have a similar effect on young Jack. That said, Wilshere  has already asserted himself as one of our leaders on and off the pitch this season. At his age the requirement to organise the players will very likely teach him a lot tactically, though I admit there may be teething issues at first.

Other options:
Arteta - Reliable, well respected I would be equally happy with him with the armband.
Mertesacker - Clearly intelligent enough tactically, unfortunately seems too mild mannered at times.
Sagna - Hasn't had the greatest of seasons this time round and looks set to leave. Sadly, a year ago, before the leg break I would have had him down second only to Vermaelen.

Given the positive possibilities I genuinely believe that Wilshere will make the cut as Arsenal captain.Given the nature of the role however, I would like to see how he fares before making the final decision and I would not be surprised if Wenger tested it out in pre-season before making a final decision.

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