Arsene Wenger Hints at Jack Wilshere Captaincy & Says He Now Trusts Him to Lead Gunners

Arsene Wenger has said that he now trusts Jack Wilshere to be ​Arsenal captain, hinting that the English midfielder could take the armband when Per Mertesacker leaves in the summer.

Laurent Koscielny is the club’s current vice-captain and has led the Gunners more often than any other player this season, while Petr Cech is third-in-command and took the role in Arsenal’s last league match against ​Watford.

But Wenger believes that Wilshere is the ideal choice to lead Arsenal into the future, having been at the club since he was nine-years-old.

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

“He [Wilshere] was born here basically,” Wenger told Bein Sports, as quoted by ​ESPN. “He has a long history with the club, strong link with the club. As well he is the kind of leader for his attitude and for his tactical knowledge on the pitch.

“Apart from his technical top qualities he has personality and is in the right place on the pitch, and now with the maturity to organise around him. That’s why I played him central.

“I just thought the combination of history, the fact that he’s a long term player for the club, the fact that he has experience and knowledge now, I trust now to make him captain.”

(You may also be interested in Jack Wilshere Ruled Out of England’s Friendly With Italy While Joe Gomez Requires Further Assessment)

To be named captain would be a huge honour for Wilshere and would represent a major turnaround in the player’s career after he ​recently revealed that Wenger would have allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium last summer.

“I chose to stay and fight and I was always confident in my ability but, at the end of the day, it is down to the manager and whether he puts you in the team or not,” Wilshere said.

Wilshere has played 191 games and scored 14 goals for Arsenal since making his debut in September 2008.

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Jack Wilshere Ruled Out of England’s Friendly With Italy While Joe Gomez Requires Further Assessment

Jack Wilshere will not take part when England host Italy in a pre-World Cup friendly (not for Italy) on Tuesday night.

The Arsenal star has been struggling with an injury and was made to miss the ​1-0 win over Holland on Friday night. The FA have since confirmed that he will not feature when the Three Lions play I Azzurri next week.

“Jack Wilshere won’t feature against Italy and has now withdrawn from the group,” they tweeted on Saturday.

An update was also provided on Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, who was substituted quite early against the Dutchmen on Friday after hurting his ankle.

Unlike Wilshere, Gomez will remain in the England camp while he’s assessed further.

Netherlands v England - International Friendly

“Joe Gomez remains with the squad for further assessment following his substitution in last night’s game,” they added.

This setback could prove costly for Gomez, who missed out on a chance to impress Southgate on Friday and might miss out on another if he isn’t ready to play by next week. Wilshere, meanwhile, may be forced to reconsider Arsenal’s offer of lowered wages now that he’s suffered yet another injury.

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‘He’s Very Demanding’: Rob Holding Praises Jens Lehmann’s Impact as Arsenal First Team Coach

Young ​Arsenal defender Rob Holding believes that the presence of former club goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, as a new member of Arsene Wenger’s coaching staff, has been hugely beneficial to the squad.

Having only been appointed to the role of first team coach last summer, the German international previously enjoyed a hugely successful spell in England, winning the league title under Wenger in the 2003/04 season, as part of that famous ‘Invincibles’ side. 

During his playing stint at the club, Lehmann was well known to be one of the more vocal, aggressive members of the team and Holding feels like this approach definitely hasn’t changed since he has hung up his boots and turned to management.

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann

According to the ​Evening Standard, Holding told Sport360: “Jens has been a big difference since he’s come in. He’s very demanding and not afraid to get down and dirty with you – he’ll get at you and I’ll have a little snap back.

“But then after training we’ll speak about it and we’ll come to an agreement on what went on and then the next day it’s like nothing happened.

“There’s no grudges held and it’s what I think is the key to getting the best out of me. You’re more aggressive and more demanding as a consequence and that’s what I need to be as a centre half.”

Arsenal Training Session

In his time at the Gunners, Holding has somewhat struggled to completely cement himself as a first team regular and this season, he has only featured on 8 occasions. In only 4 of those games, he has been on the winning side – not a statistic he’d like to hear. 

After the current international break, ​Arsenal will be up against tricky opposition in ​Stoke ​​City at the start of April, not long before they turn focus towards their main priority – the Europa League, when they will face a long trip away to CSKA Moscow in the quarter finals.

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Ex-Arsenal Cult Hero Alexander Hleb Regrets Leaving Gunners As He Rejoins BATE for Fifth Time

​Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb has rejoined his boyhood club BATE Borisov for a fifth time. The Belarus international will be 37 in May and will be calling time on his 20-year career after this final move.

Hleb has been in a reflective mood as he announced that he was reaching the end of his career. In a recent interview, the 36-year-old explained that he wanted one final swansong with his beloved BATE before hanging up his boots. He also expressed his regrets about leaving Arsenal back in 2008.

“This season will be the final for me in my career,” Hleb explained (via the ​Daily Mail). “I really want to finish it on a beautiful note: to win national trophies with BATE, get into the group stage of the Champions League and help the team.”

This is Hleb’s fifth stint with Belarusian outfit BATE Borisov. He first joined the club as a youngster back in 1999. Since then he has also had one-year spells at the club in 2012, 2015, and 2016. 

Unfortunately Hleb’s many short spells with BATE as just one part of the sad trajectory the midfielder’s career took following his departure from Arsenal.   

FC Barcelona v New York Red Bulls

Hleb signed for Barcelona from the Gunners in 2008 for 15m plus bonuses. After barely featuring for his new club in his first season, Hleb was sent on three loan spells to Stuttgart, Birmingham City, and Wolfsburg. 

His contract with Barcelona was terminated in January 2012. In the space of six years Hleb has moved clubs nine times. From Turkey, to Russia, to Belarus, Hleb has barely managed to last a year at a club since his departure from Barcelona. 

His greatest moment came at Arsenal, where he spent three seasons and quickly became a fan favourite. Hleb quickly became known for his precise dibbling and quick passing and fans still remember his time in North London fondly. 

Wigan Athletic v Arsenal - Premier League

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“It’s still tough for me to explain why I left Arsenal,” said Hleb (via ​GiveMeSport). “I was absolutely happy there. Arsene [Wenger] completely trusted me, it was idyllic. And then I decided to leave.

“I was on vacation and agents and managers convinced me that I had to go to Barcelona. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what I was doing. At some point, I realised, ‘Oh god! I’m leaving Arsenal!’ When Arsene said that it was a matter of hours, I felt devastated.

“It was really hard for me to accept that. Wenger did everything to make me stay at Arsenal. He even texted me as I was fishing. ‘Alex, I won’t let you go, we need you here.’ I cried when I read it.”

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Arsenal Legend Claims Alexandre Lacazette Could Depart if Striker ‘Doesn’t Come Good’

​Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has claimed Alexandre Lacazette could run the risk of being sold this summer if he ‘doesn’t come good’ for the remainder of the season.

Arsenal signed Lacazette from Lyon last summer for a club record fee of £48m – which was then broken be the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and became an instant fan favourite at the Emirates.

He managed eight goals in his first few months in north London, but since then his form has gone downhill.


The French striker has just one goal in 11 Premier League games for the Gunners, which has proved to be a cause for concern among the Arsenal faithful.

The 26-year-old – who is currently sidelined with a knee injury – now faces a battle to gain a place in the starting XI and score goals on a consistent basis, or else Arsenal may offload him in the summer, according to former striker Alan Smith.

The ex-England international said while speaking to UCFB Wembley students, as quoted by ​Goal: “He may not be the player that Arsenal thought he was. He started off well but you can look like a world beater in France and just not make the grade in England. 

“Arsenal have a few other players to show that. They may even have to offload him if he doesn’t come good.”

(You may also be interested in:​Hector Bellerin’s Agent Confirms There’s Been ‘No Contact’ From Various Suitors for Arsenal Star)

Lacazette scored 37 goals in just 45 games for Lyon last season and has evidently found adapting to English football to be somewhat challenging.

Wenger will need to see signs of the potent player that they brought
from Lyon in the summer, and he only has a few months left to show the
fans that he can do it in England.

The France international’s best chance to impress may be in the Europa League, as Aubameyang is ineligible to play in the competition after representing Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Wenger’s side made it through to the quarter-final stage and are preparing themselves for a meeting with Russian outfit CSKA Moscow in the last eight.

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