By Alex Taylor
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has highlighted Per Mertesacker’s organisational and leadership skills as key factors in him being a “great” captaincy choice.
The towering German central-defender has long been earmarked to replace Mikel Arteta but there were reports he would miss out after a knee injured ruled him out until the new year.
It has been reported that veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech and Santi Cazorla were in contention but Arsenal announced on Saturday morning that Mertesacker has been named the new club captain.
“It is good news for us. For me anyway, over the last few seasons he has been like a captain,” Wilshere told the official Arsenal website.
““He is a natural leader and I know he has picked up a injury, but he can still bring so much to us as a team. I’m sure if you ask the other boys, they will say he would be an obvious choice for captain. We are happy.
“He is organised, and he won’t take any nonsense from anyone. If someone is late or on their phone, he is on to them – it doesn’t matter who you are. He is the one who organises our team dinners so for me he is a great choice.”
Mertesacker has regularly worn the armband in recent seasons due to Arteta’s absences through injury.
The role became available after Arteta called time on his playing career to join Manchester City’s coaching staff under Pep Guardiola earlier this month.
Mertesacker joined Arsenal in 2011 and has featured 207 times for the Gunners, competing in over 18,000 minutes of football.
He has been a mainstay of the team since his arrival from Werder Bremen and is a popular figure among supporters and team-mates.
The Gunners will have various senior men missing for their opening Premier League fixture, with Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, and Gabriel all either injured or unfit.
In other Arsenal team news, the club have opened talks to sign this Barcelona defender.