Thomas Vermaelen insists he has no intention of leaving Arsenal and believes that Arsene Wenger appointed him club captain for who he is as a man, not just as a player.
The centre-back, who stepped up his comeback from injury with a full 120 minutes against West Brom on Wednesday evening, also believes he’ll get chances to play this season despite Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker providing stiff and consistent competition.
Speaking to press in his homeland (translation provided by The Times), Vermaelen reasserted his loyalty to the Gunners:
“I am perfectly happy at Arsenal. At no time have I thought to leave here. In football, it is sometimes hard to think far ahead because it depends on many factors. Also Arsenal. But at this moment I cannot say anything else than that I’m happy.”
Having been benched by Wenger during the last third of the season the Belgian was linked with a move away from the Emirates this summer, however, he insists his relationship with the boss hasn’t changed.
“It is no different than other players, our relationship is good. We talk occasionally but ultimately he makes the decisions.
“I had him, in my whole time at Arsenal, as a positive contact. If you are saying that I’m not a regular player, I’ve been injured for three months.
“To immediately speak about the captaincy is short-term thinking. I know the football world thinks and is very opportunistic, but Arsène Wenger does not do that.
“He has made me captain for who I am. Even if I do not play, I can offer added value.”
Having overcome a niggly back problem and survived Wednesday’s gruelling clash with West Brom unscathed, Vermaelen also spoke optimistically about the rest of the season.
“To go immediately from zero to 120 minutes is not nothing but physically it felt good and then both after the match as the day.
“An injury is always inconvenient. At the end of last season I sat on the bench and the manager had chosen Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Of course you’d rather not injured. But I can accept fairly quickly.
“I have experience with injuries and am also already been eight months. I try to deal positively with it. There are so many games in a year that that opportunity comes anyway. For now the manager picks Per and Laurent and you have to accept it. You may become frustrated because that does not help you move forward. I am confident that I will get chances again if I keep working on training.”
Vermaelen certainly put in an assured performance next to Mertesacker in midweek but it looks like he’s going to have to remain patient for his next chance. You suspect he needs a run of games to build his confidence again but unless there’s an injury to someone else he’s not going to get that. As such he just needs to remain focused and take his chances when they come. With a World Cup on the horizon and Belgium set to qualify he certainly has plenty to aim for.10,268 views