Wilshere handed Arsenal captaincy for first time against Brighton

By Wayne Veysey ¦ Chief Correspondent

Jack Wilshere will captain Arsenal for the first time on Saturday, Goal.com can reveal.

The 21-year-old is to be handed the skipper’s armband for the club’s FA Cup fourth-round clash at Brighton.

Arsene Wenger has turned to Wilshere in the absence of club captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is suffering from minor ankle damage and has not travelled with the squad, and his No.2 Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard has returned to training but Wenger wants to hold him back for the league match against Liverpool next Wednesday.

The Arsenal boss had considered resting Wilshere for the cup match at the Seagulls but has decided to persist with the midfielder and reward him with a promotion.

The temporary appointment is likely to meet with the approval of the Gunners supporters, who have watched Wilshere come through the ranks of the club and establish himself as one of the outstanding young players in Europe.

Despite missing 15 months with ankle, knee and heel injuries, Wilshere has started 18 of Arsenal’s 19 matches since returning to action in late October, missing only a single match through suspension.

The England international is expected to play in an advanced midfield position ahead of Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby, who is in line to return to the team after missing the midweek league win over West Ham.  

Wenger is considering resting either Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott or Lukas Podolski, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to step in. Olivier Giroud is expected to spearhead the attack.

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