Martin Samuel says Unai Emery “has no captains” after the Arsenal manager asked his players to vote for their next skipper.
Granit Xhaka was eventually named as the new man to lead Arsenal, along with a leadership group made up of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.
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“I can remember Germany picking six strikers for the 2002 World Cup, and you’re thinking ‘wow, they’ve got six strikers’, when really, they’ve got no strikers. That’s the problem, they don’t know who their striker is going to be, the manager doesn’t really trust anybody and ends up picking six because he doesn’t really trust any of them. That’s what five captains strikes to me.”
Was Xhaka the right choice?
Daily Mirror football writer Darren Lewis said: “I’ve got some sympathy if you’ve got to have a poll among your players to decide who is going to be the captain and we’ve talked about attitude reflecting leadership – your leader has got to say ‘this is the man I trust to be my general on the field’.
“Xhaka has got 100 caps and is the captain of Switzerland and he is a key figure for them. But he has been guilty of a lot of the errors which have hamstrung Arsenal.
“You can see why there is a feeling that he is the wrong man, but he is popular in the dressing room. As far as he is concerned, he has the experience to wear the armband, it’s just a very unorthodox way.
“It doesn’t reflect bad on Xhaka, it reflects badly on Emery because he should be decisive in a situation like that.”
‘Managers are afraid to offend their players’
The Sunday People’s chief football writer Steve Bates said: “A lot of managers are like this now. It seems like they’re almost reluctant to pick one person as if they’re going to offend the rest.
“They say it’s not just about one player, they’re all captains on the pitch, they all have the responsibility to speak up. They have, but in another way, they haven’t.