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Nov, 21, 2008

Gallas dropped and stripped of captaincy - Report

William Gallas has been dropped and stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, according to reports.

France Football claim that the outspoken defender has paid the price for his verbal attack on his Arsenal team-mates and will not appear in Saturday's trip to Manchester City and will be forced to relinquish the armband to either Gael Clichy or Manuel Almunia.

While the reports have not been confirmed by the Gunners it would not come as a surprise if Arsene Wenger had run out of patience with the 31-year-old after a series of incidents have brought Gallas' leadership qualities into question.

On Thursday Gallas said the Arsenal side was ''not brave enough in battle'' and claimed the squad was being undermined by the attitude and actions of one unruly player.

The central defender followed that on Friday with a fierce critique of his international team-mates in his autobiography. Gallas reports unrest in the France camp during their disastrous Euro 2008 finals, singling out a player who he felt was disrespecting older members of the squad. It led to a training-ground confrontation between the pair.

''I was also 20 years old once. I would never have allowed myself to speak in this tone to a footballer who was older than me,'' Gallas wrote. ''The youngsters from the Euros seem cheeky, very sure of themselves. They think they know it all, but they don't know anything.

In October Gallas reacted angrily when Arsenal surrendered a 4-2 lead with just two minutes remaining in the north London derby and drew the game 4-4.

His histrionics were reminiscent of his behaviour at the end of last season's away game at Birmingham City when striker Eduardo broke his leg and the Gunners squandered the three points after conceding a late penalty to draw 2-2.

Former England manager Graham Taylor believes Wenger would be wrong to retain Gallas as his captain after his verbal attack.

''I would have thought by now a manager of Arsene Wenger's calibre knows what makes a good captain, and I'm somewhat surprised that he still has stuck with Gallas even after that Birmingham situation,'' said Taylor.

Meanwhile former Arsenal stalwart Nigerl Winterburn believes Wenger faces a difficult decision over Gallas' future.

''Wenger is very loyal, he protects his players because he believes in them. 'It's a difficult decision. If he takes the captaincy away he's almost saying he doesn't trust him as a player and then maybe he shouldn't be playing within the team.

''Behind closed doors he'll be very, very disappointed. Whether he'll let us know that is a different matter.''

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