Unai Emery says he’s open to a young English player becoming one of his Arsenal captains next season as he looks to fill the void left by Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and, potentially, Laurent Koscielny.
Should the club choose to strip Koscielny of the armband, it’s looking likely that Granit Xhaka will be the man selected to take over the headline role. The Swiss led out an experienced side against Bayern Munich earlier this week and is well-thought-of internally.
Mesut Ozil, despite last season’s travails, and Nacho Monreal look likely to be deputies meaning two free spots need to be filled.
“I want one English player in these five captains,” told Football.London.
“Last year [Granit] Xhaka, Mesut [Ozil] and Nacho [Monreal] were working as captains. But after Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech left – and possibly Laurent Koscielny – I will want more.
“An English player who grew up in our academy can understand the English spirit and Arsenal values. These are the qualities and more [we want].”
He added: “We lost some players with big experience and a long time in England and Arsenal like Cech and Ramsey. We lost Koscielny too.
“They started one day being captain when they were young. We have young players with experience, players starting for the first time to be considered as captains.
“If we decide on a player they have the capacity and deserve to have the opportunity to be captain.”
While we’ve promoted a host of young Englishmen to the first team squad, it’s hard to believe Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah are ready to lead the established stars. That leaves Calum Chambers, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Carl Jenkinson and Rob Holding.
The latter makes the most sense, assuming he reestablishes himself in the first team after his injury. In positive news, he’s closing in on an early return.
“We are really happy with his progress,” said Emery. “He started training with us a few days ago. We’re going to do one process to let him play little by little.
“We need his performances as a centre-back. When he had his injury he was really playing with big performances.”