Arsenal's Fabregas hails 'great captain' Gallas

July 30, 2008

Cesc Fabregas has backed William Gallas to retain the Arsenal captaincy next season but is relishing taking the armband if he is eventually asked.

Gallas' position has been under scrutiny since his bizarre tantrum at Birmingham in February, with boss Arsene Wenger yet to name his skipper for the new campaign.

Fabregas has led by example in midfield and admitted Arsenal's collapse last season was sparked by the infamous finale at St Andrews, when Gallas lashed out at an advertising hoarding and was at the other end of the pitch when James McFadden equalised with a penalty.

However, he still feels Gallas' experience will be an important influence.

He told FourFourTwo magazine: 'Maybe that (St Andrews) is where all our problems started. We had a month-and-a-half after that game where our heads were not right. William is a great captain, I really respect him, and the longer he is giving us the benefit of his experience, the better.'

Fabregas has put himself in the frame to be a future Arsenal skipper at the very least, even if he told to concentrate on playing rather than captaining for the time being.

'I've shown I can take that responsibility and if I was made captain I would give even more - I don't know where I'd get that little extra from but I'd try to find it,' he said.

'But I'm only 21. Right now I just want to win something for Arsenal.'

Fabregas enjoyed success at Euro 2008 with Spain and now wants to win silverware, in the same attractive style, with his club after going without a trophy since 2005.

'Before the Euros I didn't know how it felt to win,' he added.

'But now that I have experienced it I know what it takes. You need to have tasted it. Look at Chelsea, they hadn't won anything in many years.

'They got experienced players in, won the league and that gave them experience and confidence together and others followed.

'Sometimes that is the key. Everyone said before last season that we weren't even going to finish amongst the top four and we proved them wrong. But we were halted at the gates of success and that's hard. It has to serve as a lesson this season.'

Despite losing Gilberto Silva, Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb as fellow midfielders, Fabregas is confident Arsenal are on the verge of success and is not concerned by the only summer arrivals being Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey.

'We sign what we need,' he said. 'Sometimes teams pay a fortune for a player with experience, who knows how to win, who at key moments can win you a game - and that's important.

'But at Arsenal there's a different policy and we have to respect that.

'The day we win something with these players, with this policy, this atmosphere and style, there will be a big change - almost a revelation.

'I speak to people in the game a lot and they tell me about Ajax who in the 1970s won the European Cup with an extremely young team and changed the face of the game.

'People tell me that we are on course to do that, but we need that stepping stone of winning something, of knowing how to win.'