• FA Cup

Wilshere set to captain Arsenal

ESPN staff
January 26, 2013
Jack Wilshere will become Arsenal's youngest ever starting captain if he takes the armband against Brighton © Getty Images

Jack Wilshere looks set to become Arsenal's youngest ever starting captain in the FA Cup match against Brighton on Saturday.

The midfielder received the armband when incumbent Thomas Vermaelen went off during Wednesday's 5-1 win over West Ham United and, with the Belgian set to miss the match at the Amex Arena with a minor ankle injury, all indications are that Wilshere will be given the honour from the beginning.

At just 21 years and 26 days old, he would take the club record, beating Tony Adams by 58 days.

Arsene Wenger claimed he hadn't yet made a decision in his Friday press conference but hinted at the possibility - saying "why not?" - while praising Wilshere's abilities and saying he showed the signs of "a leader".

"I haven't decided that yet, but Jack was an interesting choice," he said. "Honestly, Vermaelen made that choice [on Wednesday] and I let him make it. It is always interesting to see when Vermaelen is out who he feels spontaneously should be the captain. I did not want to stop him. It is interesting because the players know on the pitch.

"He is naturally a guy who is not scared of anything on the football pitch and that is usually the sign of a leader. He wants to win and shows you that. Of course, he will be one of the leaders of this club - in fact he already is on the pitch. A leader is somebody who does everything on the pitch to help his team win. And he does that."

Wenger denied that he had any plans to make Wilshere full club captain and take the armband off Vermaelen permanently, but admitted it would only be a matter of time until the midfielder assumes the role.

"If you are asking me if I will take the captaincy away from Vermaelen, no," he added. "It is not a question that holds me at the moment. I think Jack will be the captain of this club one day - yes, of course.

"At the moment, for me, we have two captains: Vermaelen and [Mikel] Arteta and, after, occasional captains. On the day, why not? He can be, yes. First of all, because of the quality of the player. Second, his commitment and desire to win. And his understanding of the game. He understands football very well and senses on the pitch what you have to do."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.