Gallas keen to atone for captaincy mistakes
Monday 28 July 2008
William Gallas has accepted he made significant errors last season as Arsenal captain but has promised changes to his approach if he is given the armband for the new campaign.
Gallas' leadership was under intense scrutiny when Arsenal's challenge for trophies fell away after Christmas, with ugly episodes in the spotlight such as the skipper lashing out at an advertising hoarding when Birmingham snatched a last-gasp equaliser in February.
The 30-year-old was at the other end of the pitch when James McFadden scored his penalty at St Andrews, and Arsene Wenger has not yet guaranteed the France international another season leading out the side.
Gallas, staking his claim for another chance, said: "You know I learned a lot, you want to be the best captain, give good advice to your players, but sometimes you can make mistakes as well so I think this season I know what I'm going to do and I know I am ready to change my way to speak to the players."
Gallas was also outspoken about his team-mate Theo Walcott and although he acted as a peacemaker at White Hart Lane, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner turning on each other did little to suggest there was unity under the skipper.
The experience of Gilberto Silva will be missing next season as the Brazil veteran has joined Panathinaikos, with youngsters Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey brought in.
"They [the Arsenal squad] are young," Gallas told Arsenal TV.
"They are very shy but it won't be difficult for them to settle in, the squad is fantastic the atmosphere is very good so I think it will be fine for them.
"We have to win something because the trophies are more important at the end of the season.
"Last season we were near to winning something, I hope this season it will be different. Everybody knows what they have to do, we are ready."
Possible replacements for Gallas as skipper include Kolo Toure, although the centre-back is thought to be one of the quieter members of Wenger's squad.
Cesc Fabregas led by example from midfield last season but is also just 21.
"At this stage and at his age, I don't think he should be burdened with it," former Arsenal boss Terry Neill told PA Sport.
"I'm sure he can do it without it he is given the freedom to just play, rather than be the conduit between the team and manager.
"Arsene might get a bit more out of Gallas by giving him back the captaincy - but what is certain is that there is not better man to make the decision.
"It has been a strange summer in football and Arsene has stood for something good about the game, about acting with reason and integrity - he will know exactly what to do."
Fabregas has committed his future at the Emirates Stadium despite suggestions in Spain over the weekend that he would consider a move to Real Madrid.
"I am happy here at Arsenal, my future is with Arsenal and the priority is to achieve success and win trophies at Arsenal," Fabregas said.
Tomas Rosicky is also targeting the club's first silverware since 2005, despite losing Alexander Hleb to Barcelona.
Rosicky said: "It is something similar to last season, when everybody wrote us off. Now, it will be the same. Some players have left but I trust the coach over this.
"He knows what he is doing. Personally, my ambitions are not smaller and I think this counts for the rest of the team.
"Definitely it was an excellent midfield and it is a pity that we have not remained together as we were attuned on the same tune. On the other hand, if the guys wanted to leave, it is only their decision."
Mathieu Flamini will also be missed from Arsenal's midfield, and he has been quoted in Italy suggesting that Arsenal did not do enough to prevent him from joining AC Milan.
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