Thomas Vermaelen believes that being able to call a spade a spade, has had a major impact on the dressing room atmosphere inside the Arsenal camp in the last twelve months.
Claiming that honest appraisal of performances were a bedrock of squad strength last season, the Belgian, who captained Eredivisie giants Ajax before moving to the Emirates, also made clear that off-pitch relationships have helped unite Arsene Wenger’s international roster of merry men.
“I know the Dutch like to be straight with each other and tell people what they think and that is important,” Vermaelen told Arsenal.com.
“If you can tell your team-mate what is going wrong and they accept it, that means something is going well in the team. If he can’t accept it then that is not good. To say what you think to other players is really important.
“If the chemistry is right off the pitch then I think you see that on it too. It is really important that you have a happy dressing room and that the players are always happy to come to the Club and get along with each other.
“It means you will work hard for your team-mate because you get along with each other.”
Appointed vice-captain last summer, and presumably Wenger’s first choice to take over the full duty should Van Persie leave, Vermaelen also touched upon how proud he was to shoulder such responsibility at the Emirates.
“When the boss made me vice-captain it made me proud,” he continued. “I am really happy to be vice-captain of such a big club like Arsenal.
“I feel the responsibility to help the captain in his role as well, and of course that means the Club and the boss give you a lot of confidence.”
In a spirit of openness, I’m sure the Belgian would be the first to admit that his performances in the second half have been somewhat erratic.
While Arseblog News is loathe to make excuses on his behalf, you can’t help but think his willingness to take responsibility for matters above and beyond his call of duty (like scoring goals every fucking game) played a part in him, quite literally, taking his eye off the ball in defence. Let’s hope he returns to his former solidity at the back next term…