Thursday, 9 August 2007
I was quite surprised read that a couple of days ago William Gallas had placed on record his support and admiration for the young players around him at the Arsenal. ‘They were young but they were tough and had experience’ were the kind of platitudes being trotted out.
I wouldn’t disagree with that analysis, however this came after various comments he has made during the closed season which suggested that his future at the club was less than certain. Gallas had used his official website to question Arsenal's ambitions following the departure of former captain Thierry Henry. He also complained about the lack of signing of major players, in essence saying that one ‘can’t win anything with kids’. Basically the Arse’ were going to hell in a handcart and it was only a matter of time before WG disappeared for a Spanish or Italian payday.
Gallas indeed alluded to this when he was quoted as saying "Today I am an Arsenal player but I do not know what can occur tomorrow,"
I have been wondering what would have brought about his change of heart but today was provided with an answer when it was announced on ‘this particular tomorrow’ that Gallas had been awarded the captaincy of the Club for the new season. Arsene Wenger was quoted on the Arsenal Club website as saying that he felt “centre back is always the best position to lead on the pitch and it is Gallas who has more experience at the back. But Gilberto has always been a great captain and Kolo Toure has a stature too” both players being confirmed as vice captains for the season.
It’s worth remembering that for the periods of last season when TH14 was injured or making commercials for motorcars Gilberto Silva did an excellent job in taking over the mantle of captain so it is with some concern that I read today of rumours linking him in a move to Juventus. I hope that the two events are not linked.
I respect Wenger enormously and have to trust that he is doing the right thing but after the disparaging comments that Gallas has recently made I suspect that it will take a long time before his leadership is fully accepted by the other players in the team. You are not just a leader because you can shout at people on the training ground you lead most effectively when you have the respect of those around you. And with the challenges that the new season will bring the attitudes of the players to each other and their ability to act as a cohesive unit will be vital.
There was always a suspicion that Henry was only made captain to keep him at the club when Viera was sold and I hope that this isn’t the same scenario being played out now because Gallas is no Henry and to be honest I believe that Gilberto would have been a better choice.
Arsene know though, but we will see soon enough if he’s got this one right.